ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Nov 26, 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, everyone! 

Top of the morning to ye!

Vader: Come over to the dark meat. Your appetite lies with me, Luke. Luke: I'll never join you! Leia: Can somebody pass the Midichlorians?

See, I thought about doing that, but it was just going to be a lot of Vader breathing noisily and everyone else being like, "How do you eat through that thing?" and Vader muttering, "I -- well -- uh -- look it's a complicated system." 

You have to sit though every Boomer anniversary and remembrance, and when yours roll around we'll all be dead.

I can't tell if this is funny or just a truth so painful that I have to laugh at it convulsively.

I'll go ahead and wish YOU a happy Thanksgiving with lots of leftovers to enjoy over weekend. Also, I wish you a Happy-Last-Tuesday-Before-THAT-Season-Is-*Officially*-Supposed-To-Begin-Even-Though-It-Already-Has. Somehow, today, needs a better, shorter name. But I do hope this week / weekend goes well for you.

You too, sir or madam!

So are you home at your parents' house yet, or are you still here in DC in the cold, crummy rain?

Cold, crummy rain for me! 

Snow in Las Vegas, freezing temps here in November, 2+ inches of rain predicted. I think, as part of the sequester, they fired everyone working in weather control.


If too-early Christmas music gets to you, remember that "Sleigh Ride" is NOT a Christmas song. If the sleigh bells used make you think otherwise, remember that the bells are simply a percussion instrument made of exactly the same bells used for cat toys and collars, only bigger. So instead of Christmas and sleigh bells, think of cats. Then again, I can respect the song "Silver Bells" for its honesty as it's explicitly about holiday shopping, which of course we know is NOW the true meaning of Christmas. We also know the debate over the holiday's true meaning is an old one, as noted in "A Charlie Brown Christmas" 1965.

Speaking of the true meaning of the holiday, has anyone managed to get hands on a copy of "Good Tidings and Great Joy"? I kept trying to find it at my local independent bookstores, but for some reason they hadn't rushed to stock the Sarah Palin holiday offering.

Ever since I have begun dressing as Warren Harding, I have hoped that someday someone will have a party of Woodrow Wilson impersonators and people wearing bear costumes. Is this normal?

See, before Twitter, I would have this idea and make notes on a pad somewhere and then nod right off and wake up the next morning to find "Moustache of Disappointment" written in an illegible scrawl, but now I am able to share it with literally tens of people. 

This being said, I think I found the perfect Woodrow Wilson impersonator to build this kind of evening around. He really looks incredible.  

So, why aren't you with your parents for this holiday season?

YET! Yet being the key word here!

"Sir or madam" you say. Why not both?

I worried about that, actually! Weingarten is tackling gender pronouns today in his chat, I hear. 

Mom's plan was to drive in for Thanksgiving today. Yesterday we started hearing about this storm thing and she started to worry. After fretting all afternoon and kicking around the idea of waiting until Wednesday, I said "Or you could get in the car right now. You'd be driving in the middle of the night, but you'd beat the weather." Thinking, of course she'll never do such a thing, but I had to at least make the suggestion. AND SHE DID. Bumped up her travel plans by 12 hours and had no precipitation whatsoever. Go me! (Plus now she knows she can accomplish things if she is brave! Go Mom!)

Go both of you! 

Can I just skip Christmas? Or maybe just celebrate the winter solstice so I can still have a tree? I've always liked the holiday and have many fond memories from years past, but all of this War on Christmas nonsense, plus having a mother who is a certain "news" channel's number one fan, has sucked all the joy out of it for me. Or can I just be passive-agressive and send my mom a Happy Holidays card? Seems fair since she insists on sending me a Merry Christmas card and I'm not even a Christian.

Why not a Happy Administrative Professionals Day card? 

To be honest, I have a certain fondness for the channel you describe, if only because I also vividly remember the phase my grandparents went through when all they would watch was the Weather Channel. If you thought the former was unnecessarily alarmist, you haven't met the people who talk about the weather. It's really terrifying.

Thanks for your awesome awkward Thanksgiving dinners post. I guess that at Hannibal Lecter's T-day dinner, the turkey is the only one besides Lecter who is relaxed as HE knows he won't get eaten. The other guests look quite worried. Pass the fava beans and chianti, please.

You know, I did think of including Lecter, but then I worried there was a weird cannibal theme emerging. I like your take!

I also thought maybe of putting in the Cullens, but  the only dialogue I could come up with for them was, "Gee, I'm terrible!" 'I'm terrible and my name is also awful!" so I abandoned ship quickly. 

It's not a new phenomenon. I thought it was, but I was watching the CBS replayed JFK coverage on Friday. They do a man-on-the-street thing in Chicago and there are Christmas decorations up. I only feel slightly bad that that was my main takeaway from it. Well, my other takeaway was that it took them three hours to name a suspect and they had the right one. Imagine cable news pulling that off.

Ha on both counts!

See, this is what overcoverage does to us -- makes those our takeaways!

I cannot be more excited about it. Also the article up on slate is really poor. This one is a lot better.

I'm giving that points for URL alone.

I like the cheese platter. It's one of the only times of year we have Gouda on our table.

Can I say "everything"? 

I mean it. The turkey is great, but then the gravy is amazing, but then the mashed potatoes are to die for, and the stuffing is always exceptional and the green beans are magic and the cranberry relish is--

and yes, I did have breakfast, so this comes from the heart. 

If you were assigned to impersonate a historical figure, who would it be?

I think Dorothy Parker would be fun to do, because you could insist that the people booking the performance give you lunch. 

And you just KNOW it's serious when they send Jim Cantore into the heart of the storm! Or whatever the critical/terrifying/world-ending weather event is.

Someday someone will do an expose and discover that every Weather Event is just someone in front of a green screen with a palm tree and a big sideways-blowing fan. 

Most of the sales are to liberals who send them as gag gifts. They're great for making their friends gag.


One of the cool things about that song is that it comes from the movie "The Lemon Drop Kid", which was shot in 1950 but not released until the following March. In the meantime, Bing Crosby turned it into a hit, so Hope & Maxwell had to go back and re-shoot the scene to make it more elaborate.

That is cool! I didn't know that! What was the Lemon Drop Kid about? I'm picturing some kind of hideous gingerbread-manchild. 

The White House website is letting us vote which turkey gets pardoned - Popcorn or Caramel. Naturally, they don't say what happens to the loser (am guessing HE becomes the White House T-day dinner). It could be worse - imagine if the staff gathered 24 turkeys on the White House lawn and let them have at it like The Hunger Games, winner gets pardoned. That would be brutal, but I'm guessing the turkey named Katniss will win.

I'd definitely watch the Gobbler Games.

Based on a Damon Runyon story. There are too few movies based on Runyon. Or Wodehouse, for that matter.

Oh, Damon Runyon! He was the basis of Guys and Dolls, too!

The greatest White House turkey pardon ever was when Richard Nixon spared the turkey and then declared, "I am not a cook." .......okay, he didn't really say that, but credit your awesome teammate Karen Tumulty for that one years ago (at a photo caption blog post at her former employer).

That's quality! 

Perhaps the relative in question had to find a new channel, as the Weather Channel hardly does any weather these days. Its all about weather "shows", reality stuff, etc.

"Weather Channel? More like 'Whether Channel'!" -some fool who doesn't make good jokes

I don't think we can ever know if there really is a Great Turkey in The Sky.

I'm still waiting in the pumpkin patch

or am I mixing my Meaning of the Season metaphors?

Wattle, ho Jeeves!

Gussie Fink-Wattle.

Heeeeyyyy don't be dissing my man Jim Cantore. He's a weather geek's Superman. Although he does have more of a Clark Kent manner to him. (*nerdlove*)

Aw, sorry! I didn't realize he was your man! 

My college's theater would show Looney Tunes before midnight movies. One cartoon had Daffy Duck trying to take Porky Pig's Thanksgiving dinner, and when Daffy began eating the turkey, a few guys in the back of the theater started shouting "Cannibal!" I guess they were traumatized by Woodstock in the Peanuts Thanksgiving special similarly dining on a fellow bird.

This kind of Fridge Horror happens more often in Disney movies than you'd like, when you start to think about it. 

Apparently, the CDC is warning everyone to get their Black Friday inoculations. Black Friday is spreading out to earlier days in the week at an alarming rate.

Bubonic Friday deals are at all-time highs!

Also was responsible for Little Miss Marker, I believe. And an Abbott and Costello film where Shemp Howard played "Umbrella Sam." When asked why he carries and umbrella all the time he snapped "how should I know? I'm a Damon Runyon character."


Many stores are already playing them, one noticeable exception is my local Trader Joe's, they had the Mamas and the Papas on when I visited yesterday. Of course Thanksgiving is not a holiday they want people to skip over on the way to Christmas.

Caribou Coffee definitely is, although they salt in the occasional non-Christmas tune to keep you on your toes. 

Now I'm afraid my kids will give it to me as a joke because they know how much I loathe her. Is there an Amazon "no-fly" list of gifts you can alert people NOT to give you?

That would be smart! Where's Jeff? We've got a suggestion!

You have to believe in something, even if it's your turkey or yourself if you are a turkey. I'm a turkey!

I believe in you!

Which is worse (and both are equally popular for the DC area): A cold, nasty rain, and lots of it, and you know that if it was snow it would have been 2 feet or more, OR Having the big snow storm come, start, then get caught in the inevitable "dry slot" and end up with only a dusting?

Ooh, that's tough. I say the cold, nasty rain is worse, because at least with the dry slot you get a dusting of snow, which is picturesque. I just hate rain, though.

What was the bird originally serving time for? The crime of being delicious, I suppose.

The bird was reaped from, uh, District 11. 

Worst one was the year we had cornish game hens. I was like WTF!!!

They're so alarmingly tiny! 

Let's not forget this exchange from The West Wing: C.J. Cregg: They sent me two turkeys. The more photo-friendly of the two gets a Presidential pardon and a full life at a children's zoo. The runner-up gets eaten. President Bartlet: If the Oscars were like that, I'd watch.

Ah, it's moments like that that make me miss the West Wing.

Hope plays a small time conman who opens an old folks home as a front for illegal gambling. The cuddly oldsters (and Marilyn Maxwell) turn him around. Speaking of Silver Bells, Doris Day did a fine version.

Huh, the more you know!

I shall create a line of illuminated neckwear and call it "The Ties That Blind." Jeeves might buy one in honour of the book "Jeeves and the Tie that Binds."

Jeeves would NEVER buy such neckwear!

One of my High School English teachers told me I wrote like him. And I had no idea who he was?

Ah, one of those compliments! "Thank you, I think?"

"It Ain't Hay" which was based on Damon Runyon's "Princess O'Hara."

I am learning so many Fun Runyon (Funyon?) Facts!

They like Storm Chasers. That's right up there with Zombie Hugger and Tiger Tease in my book.

Is "Zombie Hugging" a problem?

Can you please, pretty please, do a "choose your own adventure" chat sometime soon to capture all the inanity of the past year?

Is there interest? I'd be down!

You can get Sarah Palin's book on kindle at Amazon for $11.47. I hear Rand Paul also wrote a holiday book. It's called, "Good Tidings and Great Joy." Somehow, it reads quite similar to Sarah's book. Coincidence?

It's all in the footnotes, man.

Bertie would, and Jeeves would contrive to prevent him from ever wearing them.

This is completely true. The Drones would compliment him, which would only cement his resolve.

Don't forget "A Pocketful of Miracles," with Glenn Ford and Bette Davis, itself a remake of "Lady for a Day," based on the same Runyon story. This is vital stuff.

Funyon Fact!

I like Doritos better.


(This is a correct assessement.)

Sadly, although Funyons are the most widely available ring-shaped onion-inflected snack, they are the worst brand. Utz and Wise both make better products but they are mysteriously hard to find.

Hmm, sounds like a conspiracy. Must investigate further, as Rorschach would probably say. 

(Hey, he seems like the type to be invested emotionally in Funyons.)

Go to and put in Damon Runyon (not Runyan). You'd be surprised at how many movies are based on his writing.

Runyonland!‎ May 29, 2013 - Justice caps have developed a product aimed squarely at the the guy trying to stay “off the grid”. What this product does is use 9 LEDs that ...Snow here is going to keep you off the grid.

Not sure Jeeves would favor this one either.

It's depressing that Funyuns are onion-FLAVORED snacks, not the real deal. They were Jesse's favorite snack on "Breaking Bad." Jesse said, "Funyuns are awesome!" No, they're not. Given the complex chemical formula of Funyuns, I wouldn't be surprised if Walt could've made a batch of meth from them like he could with methylamine and cold pills.



Same here! Have a nice Thanksgiving. A. Turkey

And on that note, have a grand one! 

I hope you're all stuffed! Keep reading the Compost and feel free but turkey to join 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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