ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Nov 12, 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

Happy Tuesday, all! What's on your minds?

I was going to say that I was disturbingly early, but then it turned out that I wasn't.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg frequently wears a jabot. Are they coming back in fashion?

They had better be!

They say that every fashion sooner or later comes back around, which is why I have heavily invested in those pointy-toed shoes whose tips you have to fasten to your knees.

I recently read that one of the potential names Jeff Bezos considered before choosing was "," named after the command often made by Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on ST:TNG. Are you on the wrong side of the Star Wars/Star Trek divide?



and I'm in a training class. The instructor thinks I'm taking really good notes.


This reminds me of a psychology class that I took where I always typed frantically because it was a perfect time to get to work on a screenplay. Every so often the actual course content would work its way into the script by accident.

I hear liripipes are back in fashion, too. Nice and warm in this weather.

Aw heck yes!

Also morions and gorgets!

Lionsgate is working on creating Hunger Games theme parks to further monetize the brand with the new Catching Fire movie opening now. Is it really family entertainment to watch kids fight to the death? I know parents go a little overboard watching their kids compete against others (sports, spelling bees, etc.), but this might go a teeny tiny bit too far. Also, there's footage of Jennifer Lawrence hugging a crying child at the London premiere of Catching Fire, nice video. At least she didn't shoot the poor kid with an arrow.

Yeah, I'm somewhat baffled by the conceit of this theme park. Usually theme parks involve some anger and tears and families being severed one from another with a lot of yelling, but not as one of the rides.

Almost every day lately there seems to be a story about someone finding huge amounts of cash and then tracking down and returning it to it's owner. I know that I'm supposed to feel good about these stories but I can't help it, I just feel like yelling " Schmuck ! ". Am I a bad person ?

Did you hear the one about the homeless gentleman who discovered something like $800, turned it in, months later got to keep it because no owner was found, and then later it came back around to bite him because he didn't report it as income? Ostensibly? I heard this on one of those morning radio shows where everyone is expressing strong opinions about toast.

Why must there be such divides? I enjoy both. This whole Mine Is Good And Yours Is Bad is why creationists can't accept that an all-powerful god is perfectly capable of creating evolution.

I actually was going to say that it's at moments like this that I feel like I understand the problems people have trying to get pan-religious roundtables assembled to discuss Underlying Commonalities.

"So, they're both set in space."


"Could be described as Space Operas, even."

"In a sense."

"And J. J. Abrams is directing both outings--"


"And they both have a big saucer-shaped ship to which the viewer gets very deeply attached."


"And there are big conventions and fans were for a time socially ostracized--"


I got out my farthingale for Halloween but I couldn't get out the door.

So close and yet so [puts on glasses] FARTHINGALE.

[walks away as something explodes behind me]


Jeff Bezos now owns the Post, and the only change I've heard of is that he will be using the USPS for Sunday delivery. Have you seen others?

Yes, so many others, first there were the chips and someone walked through the newsroom casually carrying a severed arm and--


No. No changes. Everything is even better than it was before.

(Actually I haven't noted any changes, but maybe I can start a panic or something.)

When I woke up, I was dreaming I was playing solitaire. I really need a more interesting life.

I think if you have dreams that are duller than your day-to-day life you're doing something right. I say this as someone who had a prolonged dream about, I think, paperwork. I wrote it down somewhere.

Would you roll down your windows as you drove through that kind of animal park?

Of course you would, because you're an American, and that is what we often do in spite of posted signs and placards.



I'm a member of the Surprise Party. Their last (only?) candidate was Gracie Allen.

Oh, I like the sound of this!

Then again, I somewhat dislike surprise parties. Here's a Key and Peele sketch on the subject.

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said "Stop! don't do it!" "Why shouldn't I?" he said. I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!" He said, "Like what?" I said, "Well...are you religious or atheist?" He said, "Religious." I said, "Me too! Are you christian or buddhist?" He said, "Christian." I said, "Me too! Are you catholic or protestant?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me too! Are you episcopalian or baptist?" He said, "Baptist!" I said,"Wow! Me too! Are you baptist church of god or baptist church of the lord?" He said, "Baptist church of god!" I said, "Me too! Are you original baptist church of god, or are you reformed baptist church of god?" He said,"Reformed Baptist church of god!" I said, "Me too! Are you reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1879, or reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915?" He said, "Reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915!" I said, "Die, heretic scum", and pushed him off. -- Emo Phillips

Ah, yes, a classic, from when people cared about Protestantism!

The theme park gets it out in the open so the Social Worker doesn't get called. Our family motto is "Is Everyone Unhappy?"

"Because if you are, then I bet you are unhappy differently!" -Tolstoy Family Motto

Shouldn't retro rockets look like something out of a 1930s Buster Crabbe serial?

I'm going to nod amiably on this one as I frantically below-the-table Google what a Buster Crabbe serial is.

(subtitle) A New Licensing Opportunity

Licensing Opportunity is what was left in the jar after Pandora let everything else fly out.

Thanks for earlier post about mean book reviews and Dorothy Parker. If can we fire up Family Guy's Stewie's time machine, can we go back and watch YOU at the Algonquin Round Table chatting it up with Dorothy Parker and Alexander Woolcott? The discussions should be a delight.

I think I'd inadvertently create a hole in the time continuum because I'd be so excited to be there that I would just start spouting quips I remembered from my Best of the Algonquin compilations, and everyone else around the table would keep rubbing their heads and hearing little "poofs" and murmuring, "I felt like I was about to say that."

It's "Monday is the root of all evil." And Monday falls on a Tuesday this week, thanks to Veterans' Day.

Oh yes!

Sorry about that, everyone!

I've read recent articles pondering that question given online habits, still-weak economy, and awful habit of pushing shopping into Thanksgiving. I also don't like BF crowds and watching people fight *for real* over remaining cheap computers and bed sheets, let alone eating tainted mall court food. If we're forced to shop during Thanksgiving (or better yet not), Walmart might as well feed us Thanksgiving dinner in the stores and have us watch football on wide-screen TV's that we can take home after the game.

And yell at us about politics! Don't forget the yelling about politics!

Also, will there be any shopping left on Black Friday? Starbucks is already in full Gingerbread and Eggnog Lattes mode. Everywhere you go there is holiday spirit. I was at Barnes & Noble slipping handwritten notes into the Jeeves & Wooster books urging browsers to reconsider purchasing them* and everything was Christmas Stocking Stuffer books already.

*Yes, actually.

It needs some sort of problem to solve. Cable news or a glass of wine usually does the trick.

Usually what I do is I say at 9 PM, "I'm going to be really productive tonight" and then I watch a single YouTube video and then it's 3 AM and I've fallen asleep in my chair in a position that does weird things to my neck.

Thanksgiving is coming up. I find this the WASPiest holiday by far, with Arbor Day a distant second.


I was going to make a joke about "What's a cockney speaker who loves harbors and ports' favorite holiday?" but then fortunately I thought better of it so you all still respect me.

Babies are delivered Sunday and you change the diapers. There's nothing new under the sun. 44%-Vacant housing increase from 2000-2010. That's a lot or will be a lot after the demolition of the vacant house.

I feel like this is either in code, or a poem.

Then again this is also how I feel about most writings by William Blake, so you're in good company.

The late great Nora Ephron, before she deserted journalism for Hollywood, wrote a wonderful essay on how she and a few colleagues once started a modern-day Algonquin Round Table, in which she, as the sole female, got to be Dorothy Parker, "whoever was fattest and grumpiest got to be Alexander Woollcott," etc. "It was all very exhiliarating and pretentious. It was also very boring, which worried me until I met Dorothy Parker, and she said that it had been boring."

Oh, that last quote is amazing!

I would love to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting!

Actually, I take it back. I wouldn't want to be a fly on the wall at that meeting because I presume you'd just be like, "AHHHH BIG APE CREATURE MAKING INCOMPREHENSIBLE SOUND! AHHHH! MUST MOVE SLOWLY! WOW I HAVE SO MANY EYES AND I DON'T SPEAK ENGLISH OR SEE COLOR IN A TRADITIONAL FREQUENCY!"

Hallelujah! May I join your vigilante gang?

I tried to make the notes as nonthreatening and legible as possible in case the store staff came over and noticed what I was doing, but I don't know if it translated. At the top they all started with bold pronunciations like "DON'T BUY THIS BOOK" but when you worked your way down they fizzled out into "I mean, it's your life."

It would be great if Parker or Woolcott were on tap, but what if F. P. Adams or Heywood Broun were holding court? Those guys basically tossed off a few quips and then dined off their fumes.

I liked F. P. Adams, if only because he always came alphabetically at the front of the quote compilations when the reader was fresh. And Heywood wins some points on name alone.

why the retailers are panicking because we have fewer shopping days between Turkey day and getting day. Are people buying less stuff because there are fewer days? "Sorry, son. I was going to get you six gifts but I ran out of time."

It's the Partridge in a Pear Tree problem. "THERE WERE ONLY SIX DAYS so you aren't getting ANY dancing ladies WHATSOEVER!"

James Herriott wrote that he kept a large dense medical book next to his bed for when he couldn't sleep. A couple of paragraphs usually sent him right under.

And if that failed he could always hit himself on the head with it.

It certainly didn't work out well for either David Hedison or Jeff Goldblum.

There we go!

As a geek girl, let me say this once and for all: There is no need for a debate. I can have the hots for Jean-Luc Picard and Han Solo in equal measure. Make it so, scruffy nerfherder.

WHO's scruffy-looking?

Aw, and what about Luke, guys? No? No?

Okay, yeah, fair. But he does do THIS VOICE, so, you know, you'd have guaranteed entertainment for your golden years.

The best thing about a morion is when it is inverted it makes a lovely bowl for dip. Very useful when you are socializing after a day of spreading the faith at the tip of a sword.

That's what your auxiliary dip morion is for!

The obvious choice, clearly, is Harpo Marx. No pressure to issue bon mots, just a lot of croquet and chasing females.

And nothing gets the females like croquet!

My son used to watch a very hip cartoon show that referred to Arbor Day as "Christmas for beavers!"


I don't understand your objection to Jeeves. Although I do favour the Mulliners.

Oh, no, I LOVE Jeeves!

I meant the new non-Wodehouse Jeeves book. I meant to say that, if I didn't.

The old "wobbly pot" helmets of WWII served the same purpose, from what I've read. Once you took the liner out, you could use it to hold your shaving water, make soup in it, etc. I don't think you can put the modern Kevlar ones over a campfire.

Worth a try, though!

I was a late bloomer and wasn't boy crazy at a time when all my friends were starting to discover them. There was a big debate about the relative hotness of Luke Skywalker vs. Han Solo. I didn't want to seem weird by not really "getting" the debate, so I said I liked Darth Vader.

Hey, some people are into the heavy breathers.

I argued for Luke when we had that discussion on our fifth grade field trip to Williamsburg, but one of the other girls informed me that he was "like 40 years old" which to me seemed AGES.

Since a matter transporter disassembles the thing being transported, and creates a copy at the destination, does a religious person still have a soul after the process?

Right? I've read a few scientific horror stories based on this premise, where you are destroyed just as the copy with all your memories is created.

And I can crush on young Carrie Fisher and Kate Mulgrew in equal measure. Just as I can adore Ken Branagh and Tom Hiddleston in two very different Henry the Vs.

And all the Obi Wans are great by me!

Sheesh. Talk about not understanding the nature of fantasy and crushes. Why, I was in love with Errol Flynn long after he died.

No, I know this now! I just thought if the person was currently alive you couldn't prefer a previous version!

I never liked the "bad boys" to begin with. But Luke seems much more tractable than Han -- innocent farm boy and all that. Plus I'd rather have a man who spends his spare time with droids than with a big hairy Wookiee. Something weird about a Wookiee who'd abandon his wife and kids to go traipsing around the galaxy with a human dude -- and who's the greater fool, the fool, or the fool who follows him?

I'm glad I come from the small neighborhood of film-only canon where you don't have to know Chewbacca has a family. But, I mean, it's the sailor's life, or something. Someone has to stay and get the younglings through their private school entrance exams, or whatever it is they have on Kashyyk, unless it's Wookieeist of me to assume that his family lives on Kashyyk and really they could be citizens anywhere in the galaxy.

You mean it doesn't just put me back together? There go my dreams of interplanetary travel.

See, until we work this out, I want to avoid getting into any transporters.

So, you know, good thing I was born in this era and everything.

I was seven when the movie came out. We'd just moved back to the States after a couple of years in Nigeria, and I'd never seen a movie in a movie theater before. Star Wars absolutely blew me away--I remember being absolutely transfixed by the visuals and special effects. It was unlike any experience I'd ever had up until that point. I made my parents take me to see it two more times (which just wasn't done back then). I thought Luke was really whiny and fell hard for Han Solo.


Yeah, you have a point. Han is just the coolest.

After you are transported your soul remains behind, but it will be delivered from Amazon the next Sunday.

There we go!

so to speak. The new Star Wars movies are crap.

That initial moment when the logo appears and the music starts up at the beginning of each, before you see the title, is pretty good, though!

You all need this.

Apparently I'm Qui Gon!

We're not happy until you're not happy

That has a nice ring to it. You should get a coat of arms!

Clearly, then, you didn't have any understanding of what makes marriage work.

As I said, I was ten.

"It is not that we have a soul, but that we are a soul.” ― Rachel Naomi Remen Business tip: Know what isn't negotiable.

This doubles as a packing tip -- never put your essentials in the checked bag.

All the cosmetic surgeons just collapsed laughing.

Are there cosmetic surgeons in the chat?


I always imagined Chewbacca smelled like the bear rug on the floor of a cigar parlor--probably because of his name--and that the metal rectangles on his bandolier held not ammunition, but cigarillos. Also maybe he smelled a little bit like cinnamon, but mostly smokes.

You would have a lot to talk about with my college roommate who hadn't seen Star Wars and thought Chewbacca was a kind of chewing tobacco, which we learned when playing one of those Taboo-style Guess The Word Without Using The Word Games.

Actually maybe you wouldn't have that much to talk about, unless you were both lawyers or something.

Cinnamon and smokes is better than the wet dog aroma I always pictured.

You might want to hunker down, or slip out the back door. He set off a huge firestorm with comments in today's column which many see as racist. The internet is going crazy over this. Good luck.

Don't worry, my only conventional view is of the hallway.

I just found out there will be a test.



I pictured that Chewbacca smelled like burnt hair and grease from having to spend so much time working on the Falcon

This is fun!

What did Grand Moff Tarkin smell like? Sort of a sandalwood, right?

If Ginsburg had any chutzpah, she'd go all the way to wearing a ruff.

I say again: farthingale!

I don't know, though I think our twitter and online blog comment profiles do. They certainly can live on after we die if no one bothers to delete the accounts. But I'm more curious to see what happens to us when the Transporter malfunctions and splits us into good / bad halves as in "The Enemy Within" episode. In my case, no one would notice the difference.

I'm sure regular chatters would!

Battlestar Galactica

Or Firefly...

Maybe there can be a subcategory of Millennials called "The Millennial Falcons." Instead of operating out of their parents' basement, they would stand on the low roofs of strip malls and power dive onto the pigeons below.

But even that wouldn't stop people from writing trend pieces about us.

Your office doesn't have windows? I'd go stir-crazy if I had to work all day completed surrounded by four walls lined with post-it notes and whiteboards with scribbled doodles. A nice view of a park, or even a sidewalk lined with streetcarts filled with food would be needed for the muse.

I have a window! It just looks out onto the hallway, is all.

a) Thank you for slipping handwritten notes into the Wodehouse books OMG. Best idea ever. Can I join the Read More Wodehouse Army? (My parents would be so proud.) b) Poor Dorothy Parker. I totally believe she'd have said the Round Table was boring. The quote I remember from her was "That whole Algonquin thing was quite overrated, actually. It was a bunch of us getting together and saying 'Did you hear the funny thing I said yesterday?'" c) My subject line has now made me think about what Dorothy would have thought of Bertie and Jeeves. Oh, as they say, dear.

a) Please join! We can get together afterwards for Jeeves' patented restoratives!

b) Yeah, Dorothy I think did not value her own contributions highly enough. That last interview she gave she kept talking about how she was no Edna St. Vincent Millay. Of course she wasn't. Who wants to be Edna St. Vincent Millay?

Have you ever smelled old catcher helmets and pads? A very stale smell of old swet and bad breath.

Yup, based on what I've smelled of storm troopers that seems accurate.

smells like the combination of a hot iron and Axe body spray.

HA! Even better!

I took to wikipedia after your Whig party piece, hoping to learn about cool old (or new) political parties that might bear unearthing. I stumbled upon the Pirate Party! "Yes!" Only to discover that it is not that kind of Pirate party, rather one about intellectual property and open source mumbojumbo. I need an overpriced syrupy coffee to cheer me up now...

I know! That and the Monster Raving Loony Party were always disappointments to me, on par with Niagara Falls to honeymooners.

My mom was convinced for like 30 years that Chewbacca was a female because the name ends in 'a'. Despite many sci-fi fans in the family, this only came up like two years ago. She's still maintains that he should have been called Chewbacco if they wanted it to be clear.

HA! That's amazing!

Yeah, take that, Attila.

in which to write? Once you write plays, you don't have to use the newsroom.

Speaking of the newsroom, I hear Aaron Sorkin takes six showers every day, where he gets all his ideas.

This led to a discussion with some of my friends where several of us wound up exclaiming, "BUT AARON SORKIN IS ROBBING HIS BODY OF PRECIOUS NATURAL OILS THAT PROTECT AGAINST DISEASE!"


And on that note...

Have a great week! Hang in there for Thanksgiving! Keep reading the Compost and feel free but unobligated to join me on Twitter!

Window to view the hallway? Sounds nice!

It's a great hallway!

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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