ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Sep 24, 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

Hello all! I hadn't realized I hadn't hit the "Live" button!

Lots of horse news this week -- well, at least internet sensation horses. Horse_ebooks turns out to be performance art! And I took a prancercise class this weekend with founder Joanna Rohrback.

How are you?

Yes dear, it was Abraham Lincoln.

Is this a real conversation? If so, well-parented, you!

Also, I would totally say, "No, it was Tesla. But Lincoln got the credit. This was the beginning of a sad pattern in Tesla's life."

Please, no more award shows with jokes about how boring award shoes are!

You're calling for an end to all award shows!

That is what you're doing, right?

Many writers, faced with the daily deadline, have come up with fictional mouthpieces who can say things the writer wants to say but can't; e.g. Mike Royko's Slats Grobnik. Have you ever thought of using this? If so, what gender would this person be? What would be their favorite flavor of Jell-O? Would they wear a sombrero?

I think my alter ego would be a hard-hitting but somewhat behind the times old-fashioned journalist who is always saying things like, "Shoe leather! Nothing beats shoe leather! Sweetheart, get me rewrite!" who wears one of those hats with press cards in it, has a desk drawer full of bourbon, and likes to harass the interns in the elevator and address them as "sweet cheeks" and "sugarplum" but is too prestigious for anyone to fire.

I'm not really sure what this person would be opining on, though, I just like him as a character.

"award shoes," which goes with the Lincoln comment too.


Er, if the shoe doesn't fit in the 3 hour time slot assigned to the shoe, then we must quit.

Two questions: 1) What was she like? 2) Did you wear pearls or a cardigan (as Ms. Rohrback does on YouTube)?

Okay, so I actually had some slightly mixed feelings on the whole thing that I'm trying to ladle into a post of some kind. I was just going as a civilian but the whole set-up was so strange that I think it bears writing on.

I showed up in mixed workout gear -- a dress with leggings, but no jewelry.

The best way I can think of describing her is to say "you know someone like this, possible because she started talking to you on a bus." She was sweet and vegetarian, said she'd been doing it since 1989 but had to stop a few years ago with health issues, which she'd cured herself through natural remedies, before she could bring it to the larger public in 2012 and revolutionize exercise the way the founder of modern dance revolutionized ballet, freeing us from oppressive strictures.

The class, though, was pretty much entirely comprised of hipster sight-seers, one of whom videotaped the whole thing and kept asking her questions,  and it felt a little strange.

Then again, we were the ones running in circles waving our arms like horses, after paying her $39 apiece, so maybe she got the last laugh.

I was trying to pick through why I went, and I think I thought on the spectrum from Sweet Brown to William Hung to Tommy Wiseau she'd be closer to the Tommy Wiseau end, where the person is at such a strange remove from normal, yet simultaneously so oblivious to everyone's response and so convinced of his own brilliance that you think, "I'm glad I witnessed that bizarre escapade." But she was aware of the fact that she'd been mocked and aware of the fact that she was now what she dubbed a "comedy celebrity" and it was at that uncomfortable space nearer to laughing at than laughing with, in spite of her website and promotional opportunities, that made you feel like a heel. She seemed genuinely disappointed that none of us were there to learn prancercise seriously as an exercise regimen.

Weingarten just went ballistic over an ode to Dunkin Donuts in Buzzfeed. Don't let him read your ode to Pumpkin Spice Latte.

At least mine had no GIFs?



Is the news about horse_ebooks good because it means that there is someone out there creative enough to write malfunctioning spambot horse poetry, or bad because it ruins the mystery?


Wholeheartedly bad!

For me the whole delight of it was that it was purportedly a random algorithm that generated these at times evocative almost poetic phrases. If a human's doing that, it's not news. And also I come at this with the bias that one of the great tragedies in life is when something you love turns out to have been conceptual art all along.

Hank, you already had your front-Style-page article on this. Leave us alone with Alex.

Shoe! Shoe!

You might have more luck with "Hon" and 'Beefcake". But if "Sweet Cheeks" works for you ...


Although I had a friend who, whenever he couldn't remember people's names, would address them in terms like, "Hey, Playboy!"

It seemed to work for him, but I don't know what he's doing now. Maybe he's trapped in an HR holding cell.

Don't forget Art Buchwald's Joe Sixpack.

I keep expecting him to run in a primary.

Now I feel bad for having made jokes about her on Facebook. :(

So do I!

I don't want these feelings!

I think the problem with the post-YouTube age of This Global Village Needs A New Idiot Hunts is that there are two ways you can become a village idiot. You can actively create a strange persona, Richard Simmons or Liberace or Lady Gaga style, where you're just as in on the joke as everyone else and you look ridiculous on purpose, or you can be what you believe to be a normal person who does something one time that makes everyone laugh. And you have no idea why. So you do it again. And gradually you trial-and-error your way into a ridiculous persona where you do the things that make the people laugh without fully comprehending what about them is funny.

Of course I say this as someone who owns "Hung for the Holidays," the William Hung Christmas album, so I really should get down off my not-particularly-high-or-very-prancing horse.

It's long past time for the Post to shoo "Shoe." It was funny and somewhat edgy a long time ago, but it's almost Family Circus now.

I kind of love it because, unlike the other legacy-or-nearing-legacy comic strips who have run out of jokes and are stringing themselves along on a premise that doesn't make any sense in the present (Family Circus? Garfield? Hagar the Horrible? Those oddly Christian cavemen?) (Zits was once great but it looks increasingly like the creators lack an actual adolescent reference point) Shoe's premise is that its protagonist is a bird newspaperman with a drinking problem. A bird newspaperman with a drinking problem. Why would you ever want to shoo this?

I read through your description of your alter ego and got a fine picture of *her* in my head! Then your last sentence referred to *him*! I like *her* much better than I like *him*!

Her works too, as long as she can pull off the hat (and she totally can)!

Tell me about it. Twenty years I spent writing love letters to Betty Crocker.

Pygmalion set all of us up for a fall.

Whatever happened to "Mac"? Which, as someone obscure once pointed out, is "the vocative of 'guy'."

The vocative of guy! That's great!

Whatever happened to "doxy"?


Why are you still here?

Good question! I am here! But I haven't seen my alter ego in three days. She claims she's working on something hard-hitting but I hear clinking and chanting in the background.

Wonkbook article on the price of race horses going up. But the most interesting thing was the comments in which people advocate for and against eating horse meat. I have long wanted to try some horse meat but do not know where to get any other than France.

They eat horses, don't they?

I also find interesting the question of what exactly comprises a humane retirement for a racehorse, especially non-studd-able horses.

Nice-looking colt in that picture!

I was at Sunday's Redskins game and a Lions fan was wearing a unicorn head. With beer, it made sense to me. Now I realize that unicorns are played out. What animal head should I be wearing this Halloween?

I thought the lion and the unicorn had been reconciled!

Chat, any head-wearing suggestions?

Donkeyheads are classic and great for picking up fairies who have hit rough patches in their marriages. Deer heads, especially if you wear a frame announcing when you were shot and made into a trophy, can make for good conversation pieces, especially if you convince your friend to wear a matching frame and keep his normal head and another friend to follow you murmuring about "the most dangerous game," but this takes some doing in advance.

So if Prancercize is ridiculous I guess I should give up on my dream of becoming an exercise guru by popularizing skipping as a form of exercise. I imagined groups of people skipping down the street. It would take off because skipping makes you happy so you don't think it's exercise! I'd have skipping races, special skipping clothing and gear, skipping books and workout videos. Sigh. My 14 year old daughter told me this was going to be a non-starter (her actual words were "stop it Mom, you're embarassing me!" Which, to be honest, I was trying to do at the time.

That sounds delightful!

And much better than those stupid ankle-bracelet skipper toys that destroyed everything in a six-foot radius.

In the line at Kroger! Telling me I should be consuming coconut oil!

Yup. Yup.

Saw a license plate that read 2DOXYS. Took me a while to figure out that the owner thought "doxy" was short for "dachshund."


Don't only gangsters have doxies and molls?

I thought ordinary citizens could obtain the former if they put their minds to it.

Hedgehog which will keep others from invading your personal space. I just saw a children's book about a hedgehog who had a traumatic time finding a costume that his little spines didn't rip. His friends finally wrapped him in roll of sod. Presumably he was then in character as a walking lawn?

On the premise that all children's books are metaphors for something, what on earth is that a metaphor for?

I'm glad he found something, though.

It's a good word, but it means prostitute or at least floozy. Not equivalent to Mac for a guy.

No, I didn't mean that it was equivalent, I just was lamenting another vanished word. But "Mac" was a term of address whereas doxy wasn't. If anything it was a term without a dress.

Thom McAn

"Mac" to his friends.

" I have long wanted to try some horse meat but do not know where to get any other than France." I've been in France for a week, and eaten in a number of restaurants, and not one of them had anything resembling horsemeat on the menu.

Well, they prepare it so well...

I'm going to wear a dunce cap and go as Ted Cruz. Too political?

How will they know you're Ted Cruz? The possibilities for political figures represented by wearing a dunce cap are practically limitless.

is more legit than stripper pole exercise

As Ryan Gosling says in "Crazy Stupid Love," "The war between the sexes is over. We won. We won the minute women started doing pole dancing for exercise."


Would "LA-dy" in that irate "did you really just not pick up after your dog" tone also be a possible alternative, or is "mac" nicer than that?

to be said properly, should have a cigar in the corner of your mouth and be prefaced with, "Hey, Mac?"

That's more common than Mac for impact: "Hey, Buddy, you're holding up traffic here."

Okay, I'm getting a better sense of it now.

is much closer to Mac than LA-dy IMO

LA-dy might map better onto "Buddy."

Great article in NY Times about lost language. Includes a reference of secret crime words, which is from 1859 and brilliant.

Oh, this looks delightful! I can't wait to peruse it!

It was probably a re-enactor from the Society for Creative Anachronism.

Or a time traveler from the Society for Plain Old Anachronism.

And on that note, I should vamoose! Speaking of old-timey terms! Keep reading the Compost and feel free to join me on Twitter, Mac!

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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