ComPost Live: Internet oversharing, Mitt's Time Traveling, Rick Santorum's War on Snobs, and more.

Feb 28, 2012

What a nice day to talk about Internet privacy! Has the age of Facebook oversharing come and gone? Read Alex Petri's column and see what readers had to say in this Q&A transcript.

Also, up for discussion: Mitt Romney's time-traveling, Rick Santorum's war on snobs, Remembering The Berenstain Bears.

The Compost, 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 Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. ET 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


Hope your weeks are going splendidly as we approach the Deadline For Google To Do That Creepy Thing That Was Theoretical A Few Weeks Ago, where it combines all our YouTube watching data and map-using data and searching data to produce a horrifying comprehensive profile that will make it impossible for us to hide from anyone or form any friendships, at least, if your YouTube history looks anything like mine. In a last-ditch effort to avoid having to gut all my accounts, I'm watching a full two days' worth of "cool" videos in an attempt to bewilder Google's system. So far, this has just meant "Thug 4 Life" on repeat, but I'm taking suggestions.

Also, Michiganders and Arizonandeans are voting today! Thoughts? Strong emotions standing in for thoughts?

Let's roll!

A co-worker suggested that I "turn in my man card", but I don't think I was issued one. Where do I apply?

I think there's a bureau on top of a mountain somewhere guarded by the Old Spice guy and half a dozen beer commercials.

I see that Danica got knocked out of Daytona. A Post article mentioned that she was winning, but not making real money, until she re-branded herself as "sexy". Are there any future plans for a Compost re-branding?

Well, as my Google profile would tell you, I am for all advertising purposes a sixty-five year-old man with a strong interest in Politics and Logic (I forget what the second one is; it really can't be Logic), I'm not sure we want to follow this thought to its logical conclusion. All my ideas of what comprises a sexy rebranding are from the 1890s, and mainly consist of my dying in bicycle accidents. And my efforts to jump out of cakes are always derailed by the fact that, dang, cake is great; why would you ruin a perfectly good cake by jumping out of it?

Hey Alex - did you see Maureen Dowd's piece in the NYT the other day?  The Hester Prynne primaries. LOVE it!

I did enjoy that turn of phrase...

Alexandra, what did you have for breakfast? I had strawberry Pop-Tarts (frosted) and leftover pizza. Balanced nutrition! No, really “ with the fruit filling, every food group in the pyramid was covered. After reading that lower omega-3 fat levels speed up brain aging, do you have fish breakfast recipes to share with us to benefit our repartee skills? Of course, with Santorum's ideas on women's health going back in time and Romney *literally* going back in time, should they eat more fish too to improve their brains?

Well, I'm glad you asked! I finished the two-month-old eggs this morning! (Hey, what didn't kill me last week...)

I think, as Jeeves says, that more fish is always good for the grey matter. And I would dispute your idea that Romney's time travel suggests his mind is going. To the contrary, he has vivid visual images of events before his birth -- clearly, his memory is better than any of ours. The only thing before my birth I recollect is a lot of shouting that I am pretty sure was the Alamo.

Did you hear Mayor Michael Nutter got the Philadelphia media to cut showing video of him spanking someone other than his wife. Which leads me to several questions: Is spanking cheating? Is spanking permissible, assuming it is consensual? Should the media show this video anyway? Would you watch it andm if so, would you rate the Mayor's technique?

I am always amazed by the strong spanking presence in this chat, something Google's profile of me has yet to foresee!

I think, though, that with a name like Mayor Nutter, it's amazing that appearing in videos like this is not his first career.

Lindsay Lohan is going to host "Saturday Night Live." I fear she may steal the show. What do you think? After all, she is rich, and thus is more likely to steal shows, steal jewelry she can afford, and take candy from a baby.

Yes, did everyone see this?

They do NOT make it easy to get my fix. Or did you just want to get me alone today? ;)

No, the Fix is over elsewhere --

Oh. Er. Hello.

Maybe he's just unstuck in time. Next he'll be telling us about watching Dresden get firebombed.

I hear Tralfamidor is lovely this time of year.

Why does Kid Rock perform at a Mitt Romney rally, in front of a group of people who ordinarily believe he should be put in jail for the way he looks and acts?

Clearly they've stopped inviting him to benefit concerts.

Next you'll be seeing Sheryl Crow.

These people's lives literally consist of wandering the landscape in perpetual search of a benefit concert where they can perform songs with strange, baffling, complacent lyrics. Please, someone do America a kindness and book them both for a string of bars mitzvah or sweets sixteen, just to keep them away. Honestly, a Kid Rock performance is the only thing that could make the atmosphere at a Romney rally less jovial.

Interesting: I wonder how many of us would date someone if we had first read their Google search history. Any ideas on that?

A wise friend of mine once noted that dating in the modern era consists of a long dance of pretending that you haven't Googled the other person.

But read one's browser history? There is no one whose browser history, if broadcast, would not fill the world at large with shame and horror, to mangle a Maugham quote.

This being said, I think we all understand that It's Not How It Looks! Those earches were because I was researching the Supreme Court decision and not because of a personal interest in crushing small rodents underfoot.

The thing I'd judge most would be a person whose search history had nothing incriminating in it at all. That would be the biggest red flag of all. That -- and a few hunts for duct tape -- would imply a serial killer.

Sigh, another week, another fights with the tech ppl to put your chat somewhere we can access it.


Well, you can't accuse me of going mainstream or turning into Danica Patrick on you, anyway...

Oh, which reminds me -- try Personal Post! It should automatically put this chat into your feed. And if not, you can complain about it next week!

Rick Santorum complained about the liberal indoctrination found in the Berenstein Bear Books. His kids only read wholesome stories from the bible, where a whole people succeeded without ever paying taxes or going to college or joining unions. Of course they had to build pyramids and their one strike was a doozy.

I'm sure there were a few expert bricklayers sitting there as the sun went dark and frogs coated the land being like, "I never voted for that Moses guy. I hope I won't have to pay dues, because this seems pretty expensive, production-values wise." (Water Turns To Blood) "Oh, yeergh, as soon as the sun comes back, I'm starting an open shop."

Jumping out of a cake is one thing, but how do you get into it in the first place? I can’t see literally being baked into it: oven temperatures are too high. Air supply might be an issue too, though angel food has a lot of air puffed into it.

That is always, no joke, my number one question about the People Who Jump Out Of Cakes. (It's like The Men Who Stare At Goats, but, er, not.) I can only assume there's a well-reinforced box covered in layers of sheet cake? I don't know. I will gladly jump demurely out of someone's cake if doing so will provide us with answers.

More MD love! from the article: "Republicans being against sex is not good" the G.O.P. strategist Alex Castellanos told me mournfully."Sex is popular."

Oh, that was a great line too! What a perfect quote. I don't always like Dowd, but when she nails it, she still nails it.

Yesterday, I got a "happy birthday" email from The Rolling Stones. And, no, I've never partied with Keith, more's the pity. It invited me to visit the Stones Facebook page, so I can only guess that there's some automatic data mining program they use to send birthday greetings to people on Facebook--especially people, ahem, mature enough to remember when Brian Jones was alive. As my girlfriend said when I forwarded it to her, "WTF?!?!"

That is creepy.

It could be a preliminary welcome email from the AARP? I assume that's sort of the Stones' main role now, the lobby band at the home proving how hip it is inside.

I had a devil of a time trying to locate your chat this AM, because it's not listed on most the Post's lists of chats. Had to go to the "Weekly Schedule" page to find you.

Well, I appreciate your persistence and dedication! +10, sir or madam!

1. Have you seriously been eating two month old eggs? 2. Have you seriously been eating two month old eggs.

Mom? I thought we agreed you weren't going to comment in the chat!

Look, if there's one thing the Rolling Stones' continued survival has taught me, it's that you can't really believe the expiration dates on things.

Bah. Two months old is nothing for eggs. They're perect little fully encased protein packs that just might have a longer shelf-life than Twinkies!

See, there we go!

Twice in the past few weeks, a Facebook friend has announced a death in the family which was met with numerous "Likes". I was horrified. But apparently, we "Like" it when our friends' loved ones drop dead.

Whenever something like this happens, just remember how much grief the person was spared in his or her lifetime by the lack of a Dislike button.

When asked about his earliest memory, Mitt said "I remember going to bed with my father and waking up with my mother."


Well, that's a thought we'll have to carry around for the rest of our lives.

Maybe Mittens was sharing his "pre-birth" memories to help cement his support with the "pre-born" supporters?

Those are the only votes that matter!

There has been a 12 minute gap so far since your last response. Is Rose Mary Woods moderating this conversation? (Does anyone even rememer Rosemary Woods?)

Is she related to Blueberry Hill?

Girl Gone Wilde!

I like it! There's actually a sketch video based on this concept, but speaking of incriminatory Google searches, it wasn't coming up in the first few pages.

Now you've done it: Google will submit you to adds for this. You do know this is an actual fetish, right? (So, still think the spanking people are weird?) I had never heard of such things until an episode of a TV show (I believe it was on "Boston Legal" and Henry Winkler portrayed the guy) told of a guy who got his thrills stepping on bugs. This had me really, really worried when I had to call for an exterminator and the exterminator told me I had to leave my house for an hour. I wondered what the exterminator was doing all alone in my house for that hour. This isn't smashing rodents, yet, by coincidence, someone told me of a woman he met, so I was checking her out on You Tube, and she posted a video of herself frying and eating a fried mouse. Guys, would you date such a woman? For those of you who think I make these things up, here is the link to the video:

I know! I wasn't making this up! The only reason they were making those videos and subjecting the Supreme Court to them was because people are actually into this sort of thing. Caveat chatter, I haven't clicked the link, and it could be to Ron Paul just smiling slowly and tilting his head back and forth, or something.

Of course, anyone who claims the Bible is "wholesome" reading has not, in fact, read it. Even in the most whitewashed editions, you just can't get around all the decidedly unwholesome behavior. The Old Testament is chock full of murder and sex and war and "begetting" and slavery and violence and rape and assassination conspiracies. (True, staying with the New Testament avoids much of that, but Jesus hangs with some pretty seedy characters and has some interesting views about the rich.) It's actually a fascinating read.

Yeah! Although he was much fonder of tax collectors than most of his self-proclaimed representatives on earth would probably like.

Not easy, but easier than finding Nemo. Next Tuesday, if the WaPo plays innocent ("'Compost?' We have no 'Compost!'") go to where mmddyy is the date. Today's is 022812. Next week will be 030612. Unless they change the number of days in February AGAIN.

Wow, +10 as well. And yes, I think that does work!

"A poet can survive everything but a misprint." Oscar Willde

As o'er my latest book I pored,
Enjoying it immensely,
I suddenly exclaimed 'Good Lord!'
And gripped the volume tensely.
'Golly!' I cried. I writhed in pain.
'They've done it on me once again!'
And furrows creased my brow.
I'd written (which I thought quite good)
'Ruth, ripening into womanhood,
Was now a girl who knocked men flat
And frequently got whistled at',
And some vile, careless, casual gook
Had spoiled the best thing in the book
By printing 'not'
(Yes,'not', great Scott!)
When I had written 'now'.

On murder in the first degree
The Law, I knew, is rigid:
Its attitude, if A kills B,
To A is always frigid.
It counts it not a trivial slip
If on behalf of authorship
You liquidate compositors.
This kind of conduct it abhors
And seldom will allow.
Nevertheless, I deemed it best
And in the public interest
To buy a gun, to oil it well,
Inserting what is called a shell,
And go and pot
With sudden shot
This printer who had printed 'not'
When I had written 'now'.

I tracked the bounder to his den
Through private information:
I said, 'Good afternoon', and then
Explained the situation:
'I'm not a fussy man,' I said.
'I smile when you put "rid" for "red"
And "bad" for "bed" and "hoad" for "head"
And "bolge" instead of "bough".
When "wone" appears in lieu of "wine"
Or if you alter "Cohn" to "Schine",
I never make a row.
I know how easy errors are.
But this time you have gone too far
By printing "not" when you knew what
I really wrote was "now".
Prepare,' I said, 'to meet your God
Or, as you'd say, your Goo or Bod,
Or possibly your Gow.'

A few weeks later into court
I came to stand my trial.
The Judge was quite a decent sort.
He said, 'Well, cocky, I'll
Be passing sentence in a jiff,
And so, my poor unhappy stiff,
If you have anything to say,
Now is the moment. Fire away.
You have?'
I said, 'And how!
Me lud, the facts I don't dispute.
I did, I own it freely, shoot
This printer through the collar stud.
What else could I have done, me lud?
He'd printed "not"...'
The judge said, 'What!
When you had written "now"?
God bless my soul! Gadzooks!' said he.
'The blighters did that once to me.
A dirty trick, I trow.
I hereby quash and override
The jury's verdict. Gosh!' he cried.
'Give me your hand. Yes, I insist,
You splendid fellow! Case dismissed.'
(Cheers, and a Voice 'Wow-wow!')

A statue stands against the sky,
Lifelike and rather pretty.
'Twas recently erected by
The P.E.N. committee.
And many a passer-by is stirred,
For on the plinth, if that's the word,
In golden letters you may read
'This is the man who did the deed.
His hand set to the plough,
He did not sheathe the sword, but got
A gun at great expense and shot
The human blot who'd printed "not"
When he had written "now".
He acted with no thought of self,
Not for advancement, not for pelf,
But just because it made him hot
To think the man had printed "not"
When he had written "now".'

(PG Wodehouse)

Pedestrians in Slovakia's capital city of Bratislava have overwhelmingly voted to name a new walkway connecting their country to Austria after legendary "Walker, Texas Ranger" star Chuck Norris. Perhaps they are hoping Mr. Norris will show up to christen the walkway? Would this involve shattering a bottle of Slovakian champagne with his bare hands or dismantling a ceremonial chain linked across the road?

In case you were wondering how long it took the late 90s - Mid Thousands to make it to Slovakian pedestrians, you have your answer!

Is Chuck Norris still happening? He endorsed Newt Gingrich, which I thought was a polite way to say, "No."

I still would like him to dismantle the ceremonial chain, however.

No wonder driving is so difficult in Los Angeles. Have you seen the number of rich people cars around here? It all makes sense now.

All this time I thought LA was full of bad drivers, but it turns out it's just full of rich people! Who are bad drivers. So, I guess, potato, gilded potato.

There's a song by rapper Drake out (Motto) where at the end of it, rapper Lil' Wayne raps, "Oh.My.God. Becky look at her butt." I showed my kids the Sir-Mix-A-Lot video of "Baby Got Back" on YouTube to show where Lil' Wayne got the line from. Now the video is on constant re-play on all cell phones in my household.

Oh good, culture isn't dead!

This is basically exactly like that moment when some guy came straggling out of the Middle and Dark Ages with the Iliad fully memorized, and if you think I'm being sarcastic, you clearly don't know my deep and sincere respect for Sir Mix-A-Lot.

First, you look great. Yet your column is more than your looks. We love the words you put together in that, what do you call it, oh, yes, writings (I did not go to Harvard). I would not worry about rebranding yourself until they come for the film rights for yours columns, and even then they will likely hire Chelsea Handler to portray you and you will portray your own sister (if you have one, if not, they will create one in the movie version.)

I was hoping David Hasselhoff...

This reminds me of a great XKCD...

In the spirit of Rick Santorum, I offer up the word thelyphthoric, which mean 'corrupting to women'. An example might be birth control. It was coined in 1780 by Rev. Martin Madan, who argued that due to a shortage of marriable men, polygamy benefits women because it keeps them away from the vices of poverty.

Oh, interesting -- so poverty is thelyphthoric?

I see that and offer you colaphized, which is how I feel whenever these needless, retrograde discussions about What Women Deserve come up. If I'm using it right.

I am having trouble not only quitting Google, but telling Google jokes. Have you heard the one about the baby whose father told people the baby is an expert on the Internet and modern music. To prove it, the father asks the baby, "Name the leading Internet search engine and the top current performer." The baby squeals "google, gaga." Everyone is disguisted and leaves. The baby looks up and states "Yahoo. Justin Bieber?"


Alexandra, I don't use Facebook but do use Twitter, but still I wonder in lieu of FB's upcoming IPO how do they both make money without an ad base like Google's? My guess for Twitter is all those spambot followers, tweets with naked links (do naked links go to porn sites? never click ‘em), etc. I guess I shouldn’t complain: 80% of my Twitter followers are bots; my list would otherwise be skimpy. But maybe you'd have more info. from your biz section teammates on how these web sites make money. Enron and past busts were hard enough to figure out.

The trouble is that I am not sure Facebook knows the answer to your question either. It's what South Park would call an Underpants Gnomes problem.

I agree with you, Alexandra, that Mitt Romney is a time traveler. When younger he looks similar to Christopher Reeve in “Somewhere in Time.” I’ll bet he carries many of those pennies from the future with him. However, Ann Romney doesn’t look like Jane Seymour at all. I wonder what event in the past led Mitt to pick Ann over Jane?

I mean, Ann uses Pinterest like a pro. I defy Jane to do likewise.

Also, Mitt Romney just said something, I have to go.

But please keep reading the Compost and feel free but unobligated to follow me on Twitter!

uuughhhhhh bkkkkerrrggss kkkkdkidsio *insert other noises of displeasure *

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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