ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Feb 05, 2013

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.

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Connect on Twitter: @PostLive | @petridishes

And we're rolling! Happy Tuesday, all!

Speaking of Tuesday, what does everyone consider the worst day of the week? I'm curious.

If, perchance, I am to die tonight, bury me where the vehicles park, as I shalt listen to the sounds of feet fleeting and returning.

Down, down, I come.

Come down, king, to the C level or possibly the D level or dang it where did I park this thing, all the floors look similar.

(yes I know that's Richard II)

I am amazed at how many people believe a groundhog can predict the weather yet refuse to believe scientists who state the climate is changing.

I think the obvious solution to this is more rigorous scientific training for groundhogs.

Or, possibly, the climate change scientists could spend most of the year in a burrow and emerge and sniff the air nervously, surrounded by men in top hats.

One of these approaches is bound to work!

I hate thins. Every time I go searching to dig up Jimmy Hoffa I find some British king instead.

Maybe don't dig in Britain.

I hate all these spoilers on Twitter and in the Post. So, at the end of the Super Bowl, Lady Sybil dies?

I'm sorry! Viewed from a proper perspective, the Post website is a spoiler for the daily paper...

You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, your Yahoo link is wrong. Although he was near 3 Presidential assassinations, Robert Todd Lincoln did not stop attending Presidential events. He was at the dedication of the (Abe) Lincoln Memorial in 1922, along with President Harding and ex-President Taft. The Furies had something better to do that day.

Did I say he stopped? Apologies if so! I think he did notice that he was not having the best run of luck, presidential-survival-wise. He used to say that he detected "a certain fatality about the presidential function when I am present" if the anecdotes are to be believed.

Of course the Ravens won. They can see better in the dark.

Poe would be proud!

Or would he? I don't know how he'd feel about football.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's Baltimore house and the Washington Post building are for sale. Which would you buy, and why?

Well, I've already been inside the Washington Post building.

Based solely on the odds of finding a secret cache of bootlegged gin, I might go in on the Baltimore house...

My choice for the worst Super Bowl ad (unintentional) was all the free publicity that the New Orleans power company received.

Hard to argue with that! Pepco felt a great weight lifted from its metaphorical shoulders.

A data point: The Boomers in my Super Bowl room were embarrassed by the Taco Bell geezer ad. but the Millennials thought it was cool. However the Millennials thought that the Budweiser all black beer ad was pandering to them. Your thoughts?

I didn't remember the Black Crown ad at all. It looked much more like a Generic Beer Ad than a Big Super-Bowl Ad. Even after rewatching it just now I don't have an impression of it.

In the sense that trying to convince people that for once you have made a beer that does not taste like tepid despair is pandering to Millennials, I would buy that.

When the groundhog waddles out and sheds all his fur, revealing a Spandex bikini that says "Punxatawny Beach is now open," then Jim Imhofe will concede that there might be something to that there global warming thing.

I don't think everyone will concede the point as long as the groundhog is still wearing a bikini.

(That is not a sentence I ever thought I would type.)

"Dead monarchs will be towed at your expense." And was a horse found nearby?


That would have been awfully poignant.

Well, Harding did die in office...but it wasn't a disaster.

I mean, it was Harding.

Unless there are some hardcore Harding fans who are about to let me have it. (Hardingcore, maybe?)

I'm pretty sure "The Tell-Tale Heart" was about a Redskins fan who turned coats to root for the Ravens in the Super Bowl. Dire consequences, indeed.

What part of Geographical Proximity Is A Perfectly Valid Way of Choosing A Team To Support didn't Poe understand?

First you want to tape bacon on cats to where they can't get to the bacon, thus driving them instance. Now Republicans are talking about the benefits of a few dead cats in homes. Where does this madness end?

I don't know, but I am pretty sure Edgar Allen Poe has already written something on the subject.

Thereby hangs a tail, as the other bard would say.

So that isn't you who has been getting into my secret stash of gin?

Er, no. No? No.

I assume you've read the inexcusable spoiler in the New York Times about the next actor/tress to leave Downton Abbey. I won't mention names, but do you feel, as I do, that this will ruin the show?

I am never sure how emotionally invested I am in Downton -- I tend to think that it is the television corollary of the old adage that any man with a British accent seems smart and alluring, even if you feel pretty sure he never made it out of the British equivalent of middle school. It's impossible to tell! And ruin is a strong word. 

But with all those caveats, yes.

Downton is like an addict that used to be able to get a pleasant evening out of one or two glasses of aged drama and now has to take seven shots and kill someone to achieve the same effect. It's jumping whatever the post-War equivalent of a shark is.

Now here's a question for the ages: Would it have been more traumatic for the American public if Twitter had gone down for 34 minutes during the Super Bowl?

although we might have missed the whole Todd Kincannon controversy that has been fueling discussion for the past day or two.

Literally or figuratively? I don't know your taste in beer.

I like beer.

When it comes to taste, as Voltaire said, the best stomachs are not those that refuse all food.

But if I get my druthers, I'm a fan of Spotted Cow, Goose Island, and Dogfish Head breweries and tend to gravitate towards ambers. Oh and Sam Adams.

The Budweiser commercial made me nervous in the same way that the Dominoes commercials insisting that We Have Made Everything Better Now made me nervous: when you are getting pizza at Dominoes, you want the substance that Dominoes pizza is, not some grand brick-oven-fired concoction.

Stone Brewing has a beer called Ruination (it's kinda hoppy, and the name is a reference to what drinking the beer will do to your palate for an hour or two). Its logo is a demon with wings spread. I can see some sort of awesome CGI thing going on, with beer and demons and--oh crap, I forgot. Good beer companies don't advertise on TV. Silly me.


No, I'm sorry. Hipster beer companies don't even HAVE labels.

As a relative of Warren Harding, I take offense to any disrespect shown for my misunderstood relative. That Tea Pot Dome thing was beyond his control and overall in the scheme of things not that big a deal compared to what others did. OK, so he fooled around with a German spy and initially opposed entering war with Germany, but no one is perfect.

Of course there would be a Harding fan in this chat.

And he had very striking eyebrows?

I noticed if I leave a browser tab opened to and refresh it every so often I need never miss a Petrification or whatever the proper term is. What is the proper term anyway?


I have a love/hate relationship with Monday. See, I have every other one off, so...... Thursday. Thursday is the worst day of the week. I'm tired from a week of getting up at O'Dark Thirty, but not yet energized in anticipation of the weekend to come.

This is interesting.

I was expecting more people would not like Tuesday. But Thursday is just close enough to the top of the pit that you start to feel glimmerings of hope, and that is the cruelest thing of all.

Do you suppose Boston, Philadelphia, and Richmond are cheering for the Ravens win, considering the rivalry among those cities for claim to Poe?

I didn't know there was a rivalry, if only because Boston and Philadelphia's claims in my ears keep being overpowered by the noise of Baltimore shouting "PLEASE THIS IS ALL I HAVE, THIS AND THE WIRE, JUST GIVE ME THIS PLEASE."

Also, Dorothy Parker is buried there, but I doubt she's pleased about it.

Not only did those ads entirely pander to the Millenials, they also deliberately said to the Boomers and even the Xers, This beer is for hipsters like us and not for you, Grandpa. The worst ads ever: reducing interest in the product across all demographics.

Dang. Fair point. 

And takes real effort to alienate a beer constituency! They really had to work at that.

Could not believe my ears this past Sunday when one of the characters used the expression "steep learning curve." Talk about an anachronism!

They've gotten/have always been? pretty bad on the anachronisms.

My favorite was last season when Mary said she'd brought a lot of "luggage" to the relationship. Julian, you can't just say "luggage" and think we won't notice the anachronism!

Though New Glarus and DH remain proudly independent.

I... didn't know, actually. Well done, ABI!

I'm glad that you're a fan of New Glarus brewing - but the Cow is pretty tame. Go for Fat Squirrel or Black Top or Moon Man.

I like the Squirrel as well! Never tried either of the other two; will have to!

The worst day of the week is Wednesday because the laundry pile is alarmingly large and two days of dishes lie unwashed in the sink.

I have ceased referring to the laundry pile as a pile after it developed its own gravitational field and attempted to secede. Usually that's Thursday, though.

I'm a boomer and I liked that commercial. The images and cinematography were great. It was bittersweet to hear Paul Harvey again. My grandfather listened to him every morning. Then again, most viewers probably don't remember Paul Harvey.


The heck wit the beer ads. What did you think of the Dodge Ram truck commercial rhapsodizing about the American farmer? The Paul Harvey commentary was several decades old and those warm, fuzzy pictures did not at all reflect the reality of modern, industrial farming. Reality check sorely needed.


She's on the cover of EW and Vanity Fair has a fawning piece on her in their new issue. Are you jealous of her? You are a much better writer and seem to have a better sense of perspective about your generation than she does?

Ha, I bet you're that person who likes to come troll the chat by delivering things that I mistake for compliments! But thank you? I think?

Every writer my age writing right now who ever tries to make generational generalizations has Some Sort of Feeling About Lena Dunham. It comes with the job. I've had the gamut of feelings about her. Right now, I'm enjoying what she makes, and my fervent wish continues to be that there are more opportunities for folks like her so we don't have to ask Girls to be this Big Generational Everything. It's a good show, written from a particular perspective, but I think all the Dunham hoopla means that we're loading it (and her) with more than is fair to ask of any one tale (or person) to carry. And also I am still two years younger SO ANYTHING CAN STILL HAPPEN RIGHT? as I like to mutter to myself in the fetal position at 3 AM, when I am running the gamut of feelings. No, but seriously, I'm up on her right now.

It's a Moveable Feast, calculated against phases of the Moon, tides, metabolic rate and minutes of sunlight divided by the coefficient of time dragging.

You might be right.

I've heard surprisingly few Mondays in all this, though.

Really, Mary should have said she brought a large portmaneau to the relationship.

"That's garderobe humor." --something I imagine a Fellowes character would say if this were set in the Renaissance

"You bring a lot of carpets rolled up with your possessions inside them to this relationship." --post-Civil War Fellowes

Monday is the default worst day. You must mean the next worst day after Monday.

I like Monday, because Monday has a clean-slate-new-week element to it that can be refreshing if your previous week was tepid.

My brother-in-law is a small dairy farmer and I live in an area where there are still smaller family owned and operated crop farms. I am aware that there are many industrial farms out there, but there are still small family farms out there (in Maine the number is actually growing) and it made me happy to see them get some love, because I love them.

I didn't know that about Maine!

I think, though, that given the vintage of the words used in the ad to accompany the images, the aim was at a Vague American Farmer Nostalgia more than it was at Today's Small Family Farmers. And the Vague Nostalgic American Farmer has actually gotten what I would consider a solid amount of love already and I am comfortable not adding to that pile.

I went to that Fringe or Lunatic Fringe or whatever that was where you had a play last year and I already received an email that the Fringe is returning this year. Do you have play in this year's line-up?

Fingers crossed, yes. We've certainly applied to be in it. And I've been trying to wrestle the revised draft to the ground all weekend to get it to the director, so I hope so. In this one Shakespeare's tragic heroines get brunch and solve their issues. Or try to.

And the best, because it is the only one. -- Jean Paul Sarte.

Jean Paul Sartre can go to other people.

The past week is never dead. It is not even past. Monday is the worst day because it combines all the leftovers from the past week plus seemingly whatever disasters the new week has to bring.

i don't hate monday. i dont hate it! i dont! I don't! I don't hate it! I don't hate it!

"You brung a big ol' chifferobe to this here relationship."

I don't even know what a chifferobe is. It sounds like something the groundhog might wear afterwards.

I thought it was 'ironic' to drink bad beer like PBR

There's also that.

Did it submit a petition to the White House website?

Obviously. What other first step is there?

So voters defeat George H.W. Bush for President yet believe his son George W. Bush might be better. Why do people assume that the defeated candidate's son Tagg Romney is going to be so much better than his father, a father who actually achieved quite a bit in his life? Why do we elect the children of politicians and give them more breaks than we do their parents who accomplished far more? That goes for both parties, all you Kennedys, Tafts, Stevensons, etc, that have been running around out there?

And don't forget that Mitt himself is the son of George.

I think we're mostly getting enthused for the eventual inevitable Tagg because of the potential "Tagg, you're it!" headlines. But I might be getting "we" confused with "I" again.

Did the archeologists find a bill of sale for England next to Richard III's skeleton? If so, what was the return policy? And did another team in Denmark find a skeleton of a prince holding a skull from another body? Very likely that the two people knew each other.

Don't forget that Scottish corpse without a head, either.

It has become easier for us to go to undeclared wars when only volunteers are sent to fight and only they and their families are the only ones directly impacted by war's impact. Yet if an enemy ever takes down Facebook, that enemy will feel the wrath of an angry nation.

I'm not sure.

Recently I saw someone describe Facebook as being like when you check the fridge to see what's there even when you aren't at all hungry. I think there's some truth to that. But we'll still be on it for years to come.

I have a good friend with a west London, relatively posh witty British accent. He tells me he gets every job he ever applies for here, and has routinely has beautiful women around him. Where's he from? Houndslow--a decidedly middle class area near Heathrow. Think Reston. He's as much Lord Grantham as I am, and I'm from Brooklyn.


Then again, maybe you only believe that he gets every job and is constantly surrounded by beautiful women because he tells you with that accent.

Take a drink everytime they say "shizzle."


A chiffenrobe is figured prominently in To Kill a Mockingbird

It's a steak costume made out of chicken wire?

(It's been a while since I read TKAM.)

Do you think the Dowager Duchess (Maggie Smith) would have been likely to quote Oscar Wilde's bon mot "Nothing succeeds like excess"? Or did Fellowes make another slip-up there?

I was just distressed she failed to attribute it properly!

You mean she coined a new term to describe the couple, like Brangelina? People of her social class probably appreciated brevity.

It's the soul of wit, as the Dowager Countess would say without attributing it.

“Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be.” ― Marshall McLuhan Good luck party animals.

This sounds like something Tumblr could get behind.

Couldn't you say the same thing about John Quincy Adams?

Yes, but he had much more daring facial hair.

"The Whitechapel Foundry's connection with the Liberty Bell was reestablished in 1976, the year of the US Bicentennial. First, there was a group of about thirty or so 'demonstrators' from the Procrastinators Society of America who mounted a mock protest over the bell's defects and who marched up and down outside the Foundry with placards proclaiming WE GOT A LEMON and WHAT ABOUT THE WARRANTY?. We told them we would be happy to replace the bell - as long as it was returned to us in its original packaging."

This is great!

I'd like to join the Procrastinators Society of America. I've been meaning to for a while, actually!

(Someone had to say it.)

PBS shows us what British life is like. Does England have some equivalent to our educational network, and what do they show the British to appreciate American culture, "Jersey Shore"?

Honey Buboe, I think. (To borrow a friend's coinage.)

Excellent line. What I find happening with seemingly infinite regularity is the media confusing "we" with "a group of people that never includes me." As in "Why are we all in love with Gangnam style? or Why do we watch golf? Why do we obsess over X? I'm never part of that "we" . . .

Yes, good observation! We in those articles is always -- Those People With Dubious Taste.

Then again, some things spread to the point that "we" is more accurate than "they" -- Gangnam style might be one. Honey Boo Boo, on the other hand -- if we lined up everyone who actually watches the show, compared to those who just talk about it -- er, we would have to work hard to hold the two groups away from each other before the latter overpowered the former with unnecessary roughness.

None at all, you mean? How was that daring, in his day & age?

Sideburns are nothing to sneeze at!

Big Bard? Birds of a feather flock together. What do bards do together?

Big Bard, brought to you by the Letter Old-Timey F That Looks Like S!

It also says "Total Responses: 47 Currently Online : 0" Help, I'm now having an existential crisis!

I think that's my cue to depart!

Have a fantastic week, even Thursday!

Keep reading the Compost, and feel unobligated to follow me 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.)
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