ComPost Live: Your weekly digest with Alexandra Petri

Mar 11, 2011

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 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.


I missed Analogy Tuesday this week, so let's start up analogy Friday!

Analogy Friday is like the Mayan Apocalypse -- you're never entirely sure it WON'T happen.

Foods for thought:

- One of the battles these days seems to be what online identity is going to represent us. Google ID? Facebook? Twitter? Some combination of these? How would you rank them? And what's the deal with the increasing desire for people to be their real selves online?

-I was (mostly) right about what your email address says about you! Apparently, AOL users are obese 30+ women! Read this, it's riveting:

-Anything else on your mind?


You state that "nobody else seemed able to figure that out over all the toilet-related exclamations". What do you base this on? What is so special about you that you were able to understand it and "nobody else" could? Ever consider the possibility that lots of people understood beyond just the brilliant liberal pundit? Methinks if you can figure it out, the rest of us dummies might be able to as well.

At the risk of saying, "please assume unless otherwise noted that my tongue is planted firmly in cheek," please assume unless otherwise noted that my tongue is planted firmly in cheek! I certainly don't think I'm the only person who knew what he meant -- there's nothing special about me! Except that I have tigerblood and Adonis DNA. But really, who doesn't?  My point was that the other folks at the hearing kept responding as though it were just about Rand Paul wanting a better toilet, and that can't have been the response he was going for.

Reading the article today, I had to make sure I wasn't reading The Onion. It is hard to believe a Congressman is actually saying this garbage ("man's right to choose what kind of light bulb," blah blah). He is a Lunatic.

I do think it's funny that he put the right to choose your light bulb on par with a woman's right to choose, because usually you don't have to rear a light bulb for eighteen years and make certain you give it the best home you can. As an example of this, Charlie Sheen is still allowed to keep all his light bulbs. If these things really were on par, you'd see a lot more light bulb showers, and a lot of single people with cats sitting at home in the dark because they weren't ready to take the light bulb plunge yet. "You're going to CVS to get light bulbs?" everyone would say, getting all excited. "Do you know which kind yet?" "No, we're waiting to find out when it arrives." Although I worry about the impact this might have on babies.

I asked this of Jen Chaney, but maybe you would know better: Do you believe Dana Milbank could successful go to the end of the month without ever once mentioning Charie Sheen?

Dana might be able to, but I definitely couldn't -- although the revelation that he might not be doing his own tweeting is putting a bit of a damper on things. That's how you can tell you have too much money -- you hire a guy to send out high-sounding strings of 140 characters for you.

Any truth to the rumor that House Republicans will be proposing the elimination of Labor Day?

Re: Labor Day

As long as they don't get rid of Birth Day!

Puns: 1. Petri: -500

Toilets? Really?

Hello sir or madam!

You have the distinct honor of being the first and (perhaps) only responder to this question, so I am going to respond in a sonnet, because, hey, I need more hobbies. Congratulations, stranger!

You ask me: "Toilets? Really?" like it's odd

That someone in the body most august

Of this our single nation (under God?)

Would make a comment with that sort of thrust.

But mentioning it didn't make him blush

Because it was a first priority!

It wasn't number two -- so he felt flush

And gladly took his opportunity.

He'd clearly waited many years for this

It was an issue upon which he'd sat

For many years, and what could be amiss

If he should mention anything like that?

But do committees like this have to sit

And listen while he brings up all this --

Hey, would you look at that, I see some more questions coming in!

Dear Petri Dish--the Evil Troll is gone for good. Yes, I mean Russell Hantz. I almost jumped out of my seat screaming when he lost the challenge and had to leave Survivor. Now I need my man Boston Rob to win.

It's good that someone isn't surrounded by fools and trolls!

Go Boston Rob!

Do you know anything about sports? If so, what's your take on March Madness?


But I have strong opinions on March Madness! I'm rooting for the Butler Bulldogs!

So while walking my dogs this morning I finally saw the owner of a certain vehicle with anti-liberalism and W'04 stickers on it (I have always wondered who puts such juvenile stickers on their car). I would judge this man to be in his early to mid thirties. He was white, average-short height and average-slightly chunky build, and clearly the opposite of an Obama lover. Which email does he use? Certainly not gmail! Also, should I buy him a window scraper so he can remove the W'04 sticker?

I'd answer, but that would be profiling! Statistically, based on the study, I'm not sure where he falls.

Hmm... I'm going to throw this question out to everyone.

My general stance towards bumper stickers is that they are the opposite of tattoos. Getting a tattoo generally indicates that you are at some sort of dip in your life; the moment you put a bumper sticker on your car, you are indicating to the world that your life is going to be all downhill from here. Cases in point: outdated political signs, My Child Is An Excellent Wizard At Hogwarts, those vaguely punny signs about who your copilot is.

Let's complain about the lo-flow shower heads we're all forced to use now.

Yeah! It's like the equivalent force of six dwarves spitting on you!

Or the hand dryers. Yeah, let's talk about the hand dryers. It'll be a fun 90's-era-stand-up-comedy-themed chat!

"Because I love my country so much." Is there anything that excuse won't work for?

Maybe treason.

When will we be able to use the word "winning" without irony again?

Can we use "phat" yet? I think they're going to have similar lifespans.

A better question might be, "Can we really ever do anything without irony nowadays?"

Oh, come on! I'm weeks behind on Survivor and trying to avoid spoilers, but I didn't expect to get one on THIS chat! Thanks a lot, buddy! (Just for that, I hope your low-flow toilet clogs.)

Oh no!

Apparently, millions of people still watch Survivor! Mea so culpa!

Every year it's the same. I go around post-service with this enormous black smudge on my forehead, looking as if I walked in to a charcoal-covered tree (that is not the best metaphor I realize...) Any ideas on how to actually draw a cross on someone's forehead?

I like the charcoal-covered tree! Analogy Friday!

Or like you were fingerprinted earlier by someone wildly incompetent.

I think it's a swipe down, followed by a swipe left to right, but does one  dip between swipes or not? Alternatively, you could draw on some guidelines next time, but if the point is to avoid looking ridiculous, this might not be the best strategy...

Shoot wolves from a helicopter.


Okay, you laugh but when my husband brought home some light bulbs that cast a bluish color light that didn't mesh with the other 2 bulbs already installed that cast a yellowish light... well, I got excited when he took them back and brought home the right kind. Unfortunately, I think the right kind that have the nice warm glow are the ones they want to get rid of. I'm not going to go all ballistic about it though. I'll just sigh and say, okay, it's best for the environment.

Thanks for sharing! They're removing all the Edna St. Vincent Millay bulbs from the line-up, the ones that burn wastefully at both ends but cast a lovely light.

Acme is a word?!?!? I thought it was merely the faulty construction company that supplies Will. E. Coyotes poorly functioning machines.

In all fairness, that news has been everywhere. Maybe a few penguins in Antarctica or germs in a Petri dish haven't seen it. . .

Who here watches Survivor? Show of metaphorical hands!

Wildfire in the Tyson's Galleria has them; they're really fun & fast to use.

Are those the ones with the suction? If so, I highly approve.

I would love to have been there during Mr. Dyson's childhood watching him have his formative experiences with inefficient vacuum cleaners, jettisoning original slogans like "Dyson: We Suck" and "Dyson: We Don't Suck," coming up with the ball...

Nah, you can use it for treason. "I gave the other side secret documents in the hopes that if everyone had the same infomation a war would be averted... because I love my country so much."

Maybe it DOES work for everything!

I may have missed this, but have you used anagrams to make fun of people and, in the process, end the post? A good example: Sarah Palin = Sharia Plan (or Anal Rash Pi)

I have used anagrams before, I think because it was national anagram day or something.

One thing that daily online journalism does do is make you very vulnerable to all the Arbitrary Something Or Other Days out there.

So far, the Post survives, however!

Our parish priest takes pride in his distinct crosses. I've never seen anything like it. Of course it usually rains on Ash Wednesday so all the trouble taken is for naught.

Distinct? How?

Yes. It means "the highest point." Don't you do crosswords?


Relatedly, one of the most cutting nerd insults I've ever heard is, "you're as easy as a Wednesday crossword."

Time to bring back home gas lighting?

I blame Rand Paul for the fact that this instantly makes me think of Dumb and Dumber.

It's very strange to be so passionate about vacuums. Although I suppose Mr. Dyson's passion for vacuums probably works out better for his SO than Newt Gingrich's passion for any rate, you don't need to go all the way out to Tyson's for the amazing/creepy dryers, I do believe they have them at the American Indian Museum as well.

Nice! This will give me an extra motive to visit!

Any other restroom recommendations? (As important as restaurant recommendations, in my view...) Mie N Yu in Georgetown won an award from Express for Best Restaurant Bathroom, but where are the other highlights?

Isn't that when we play a lot of John Philip Sousa music?


Yeah, Sousa's in my bracket; I have him beating John Williams and Mendelssohn's Wedding.

Let's say that Obama was born in Kenya. There are newspapers in Hawaii that carried the announcement of his birth; if he were born elsewhere, this implies that he had to go back in time to change the newspapers. This would mean Obama has won the past, and birthers have lost it. Now he wants to win the future. If he were to win the future as well as the past, would he be America's first bi-winning President?

This sounds involved, so I'm going to say yes. He could win the present, but that doesn't seem likely right now...

Personally I object to those who use the phrase "The Government" as if it was some sort of singular entity of Men-in-Suits instead of a word that covers every local, state and federal department, agency, courtroom, public service and school system. Do you have a metaphor that aptly summarizes the absurdity of this phrase.

Yeah, it sounds very "Adjustment Bureau." (I mean, "Spoiler alert?" for all those Survivor fans.)

Saying it's The Government, a monolithic entity of Men-in-Suits is about as silly as referring to the funds as Government Funding., as though there were some giant pot of magical gold tended by gentlemen in hats, rather than simply Actual Folks' Money and Folks.

But Folks and Folks' Money doesn't seem like quite the right term either.

Who gets the #1 seed--Meg, Jo, Beth, or Amy?

Amy, hands down. She wins the whole novel.

Distinct like they look like an actual cross. Not a smudge. The guy is also a sharp dresser, so he might just be abnormal for a priest. I think the smudge is the norm.

If this were a different, more sententious chat, I would say, "The smudge is the norm -- how true! Isn't that just life for you!"

Thanks for the explanation!

Wouldn't the Monday crossword be the worst insult? You could insult someone by telling them they were as hard to comprehend as the Sunday crossword.

I think the implication was that Wednesday thinks it's more of a challenge than it in fact is.

Or Sunday -- large, hard to get a handle on, and takes more time than it's worth, usually.

To me, Saturdays are definitely the hardest.

To the people who said this "news" has been everywhere and it's my own fault for falling behind, no it has not been "everywhere" if I'm not reading or watching more entertainment-oriented sources, and I would stay away from places where I would *expect* it (or I wouldn't complain if it popped up on Lisa de M's chat). Yes, it's my own fault in that I only watch this stupid show when I'm working out and I haven't been doing that enough lately, but still -- this is the freaking ComPost chat! And most people have DVRs now. It's not like I recorded the Super Bowl or the Oscars and then expected not to find out what happened. Grr.

Again, apologies!

I'll make a negative speech about the folks who divulged this information at the next, uh, tribal council.

(I don't really watch Survivor... is that a thing?)

Seriously guys, there's this thing called "the internet," where everything is cheaper and you can buy efficient light bulbs that also cast a warm glow.

No! Tell me more of this wondrous place? Are there, are there -- people there, too? People like me? And movies? And music? And pictures of cats?


Well as my mother recently informed me, you can buy almost anything over the internet.

Great minds...

I haven't been there but I've heard Proof has good bathrooms.

The Post has pretty good bathrooms, except that the one on my floor contains an armchair, and I don't really understand what it's doing there.

What, you've never been! You have to eat at Mitsitam! And then use the restroom! And then leave, because it's not exactly the best museum in the Smithsonian's line-up.

It's been a while since I've been museum-hopping, actually. Although I have a Crime & Punishment museum groupon burning a hole in my -- whatever your groupons burn holes in. And that's one of the ones that actually costs money.

At Eatonville, guys get to pee on rocks. Seriously. There are rocks in the urinal bowl.

What would Rand Paul say?

Me too, because I pretend the Sunday one doesn't exist.

I know that it exists, but I understand that I won't be doing it anytime soon. Like Matthew Gray Gubler.

OMG - I LOVE him too!! And just to make this on topic (somewhat) - Great chat today!!

I once incorporated a Matthew Gray Gubler reference into a piece about arsenic-based bacteria, which has got to be a new high or low for me!

for colleagues who are nursing? to pump?

Oh, that would make sense!

...and this wondrous place can answer any question, with multiple related images, no matter how obscure.

Okay, thanks. Next time I need lightbulbs I'll send my husband to the internet. I hope they don't get broken in shipping.


Although I like the image of sending your husband to the Internet; I imagine him battling LOLcats and saying hello to Tron Guy before emerging, wizened and wiser, with blue- or yellow-tinted light bulbs in hand. Like the Boon Bearer in Joseph Campbell!

Don't snuff my torch!

Well, it's that time again, so it looks like I'll have to snuff everyone's torches for today!

Thanks for a really fun chat!

Keep reading the Compost, and follow us on Twitter!

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.)
Recent Chats
  • Next: