ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Jan 21, 2014

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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Good day, all!

Time to panic and batten down the snow-hatches!

Alexandra, have you seen "Her"? I love that movie and am glad to see it get a best picture nomination. I first thought it was Siri's autobiography. Alas, I fear if Siri and SkyNet hook up, we're doomed. Can YOU imagine if some creates an OS based on you?

I did see it!

I had so many thoughts that I wrote up half a piece about it just on steam emerging from the theater. I thought it was interesting how for the protagonist the computer became a tool that helped him see the world around him better instead of something he stared into to escape the surrounding world. Something has radically shifted in terms of tech interaction between now and then. Also: voice interface? Really?

But I did enjoy it.

I wish Ezra well on his new gig - he did great work here - but don't YOU leave us, Alexandra! Who's going to take care of the newsroom office mouse? I don't think Karen Tumulty will as she complains about it on twitter. If y'all adopted an office cat, I could move to DC to be hired by WaPo to take care of it.

We could always hire someone in a cat suit to alarm the office mouse and lift our spirits/leave the mouse unfazed and cause everyone else to quit abruptly.

I am always compelled to put a big pot of beans on the stove with a ham bone in it to cook all day.

My reflex is to heat up something and put marshmallows in it. Unfortunately all I have is coffee and no marshmallows but I also have some stollen (sp?) a friend baked earlier, which is amazing, so I'm making do.

...political or polar vortex, that is - as it's just announced he cancelled his inauguration due to snow. Or is he using snow as another excuse to hide from the media over current scandals? (Okay, sorry for the political jab here, like there are ever any political fights at this website.)

HERE? In THIS establishment? I am shocked, shocked!

*picks up winnings*

I didn't panic yesterday, stock up on apocalypse-like necessities, or batten my snow-hatches. Though I did pull my windshield wipers up so they won't freeze to the window. Am I screwed or most likely to be eaten first?

Eaten? Are you kidding me? This is DC! How would they get to you? No one will have the intestinal fortitude to leave the house.

what about the continuing theme of a man's ideal woman being something unreal?

For a few seconds, it was Pygmalion, then it evolved into something else entirely.

David Henry Hwang has an interesting comment in M. Butterfly about how nothing can compete in a man's mind with a woman created by a man. I don't know how far it goes for Samantha, but maybe worth considering.

Yes, that's the correct spelling (with a capital "S," if you want to be totally German about it). If, however, you took it without permission, the correct spelling would be "stolen."

Oh, good to know!

My new ambition is to steal some stollen.

Eh, he can always boast later about how much money he saved by not holding an inauguration = fiscally conscious. It's all spin. Like, causing a traffic tie-up was his way of encouraging people to stay in New Jersey and spend money in their home state. Win-win, right?

It's all about the spin! I like the way you think. Have any suggestions for the NSA or the snow?

Is to sacrifice a mitten to Chione, the goddess of snow. Look for a single glove by itself.

I see that you have made numerous sacrifices already.


"Gimme Shelter In Place"

Oh, a storm is threat'ning

An inch or three today

If I don't get some shelter in place

Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away

Work, children, it's done from home today

It's done from home today

*Mick Jagger's vengeful ghost comes and strikes me about the mazzard*

'but you're not a ghost!'

'after hearing that, I might be'

I would get Stollen and Stoli mixed up, even literally if the two could be mixed up in a drink.

Well, it IS a snow day...

Let's see. It's listening to our phone calls because it's really Santa Claus. He knows when we've been sleeping, he knows when we're awake, he knows when we've been bad or good. And you've got to admit he's pretty mysterious.

If we're negatively spinning the snow, we could suggest that, as former water, Snow is just in the pocket of Big Water and is trying to drive up bottled water sales  artificially.

The Jimmy Fallon - Bruce Springsteen duet on Bridgegate is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

Especially given Christie's known love of The Boss! Jimmy even gave him a heads-up!

A receding hare line.

Aw, booo

That's almost as bad as the joke about why the lovelorn rabbit purchased Rogaine.

Batten down the Stollen or there will be a fruitcake on the loose!

Are hatches the only thing one can batten down?

Speaking of old-timey terms, behold this thing of wonder: 200 terms for drunkenness from Ben Franklin.

when it snows? That is what the "bread/milk/eggs" panic is about right? I grew up in MA and we made soup (canned clam chowder) and hot chocolate and sometimes popcorn for apre shoveling. If the power went out, we got peanut butter/marshmallow fluff sandwiches in front of the fireplace with sleeping bags.

That sounds idyllic! That's going to be my new go-to plan henceforth.

They won't let me tether a Civil War era balloon in my backyard. Any suggestions on how to monitor for violations?

Nuts, that WAS my suggestion.

Hmm. Form a committee of squirrel vigilantes?

Beatniks were always snapping their fingers to show approval. And one bongo solo is enough.

Aha, someone spotted my Unpopular January Opinion!

You'll find out when you try to peel the walrus.

Or, conversely, when you try to do -- whatever it is one does to a walrus. Get it into conversation with a carpenter? Ask if it knows Grover Cleveland?

If the power outage lasted a long time, it got very cold in the house (did I mention that we were in front of the fireplace because, even though the heat was from an oil burning boiler, it needed electricity to work?) However, power outages didn't last that long on my street. We had a cop and two firefighters plus a couple of nurses in my nabe, so we got prioritized for plowing. Since the lots were smaller, the power company got credit for bringing more customers on line by fixing our neighborhood early and with the plowing done, they had no reason not to come to our street. The big houses on multiple acre lots had to wait forever to get power back. They probably had generators. Do not recommend the power outage, but all other aspects of childhood snowstorms were good - including the sledding hill in back of one of the elementary schools. It was PERFECT.

I still think that sounds fairly idyllic on net, but thanks for adding to the picture! All that and a sledding hill! Well done!

peanut butter/fluff sandwiches sound dreamy, must get myself to a snowy clime (I'm in the Pacific NW) so I can properly enjoy one soon!

I don't know that I'd go that far. That's like breaking up with your wonderful boyfriend to give you an excuse to sit on the couch under a blanket and eat Ben & Jerry's.

NSA, as usual, is pretending that it's safe to go to work today even though the federal gov't in DC is closed. It will declare a snow emergency and early dismissal just as the weather is at its worst.

On the bright side, er, um, it is apparently National Hug Day!

If you can run down to the store and pick you up a few bags of marshmallows (or have an intern do it for you if on deadline), skip the coffee and just eat the marshmallows. The sugar high will keep you going through the work day.

Now that's a thought. I might have to make a go for it!

My reflex is to decide whether (a) I must go to work, (b) I could go to work if I wanted to get hero points, (c) I can stay home but I still have to work, which usually means less productivity, (d) I can stay home and I don't have to work. So it's more of a snow day calculus, really.

See, this is the kind of Actual Life-Related Calculation I wish showed up on more standardized tests, as well as How To Divide Checks Among Groups of People Unwilling To Take Any Initiative And Including One Guy Who Is Secretly Underpaying Because He Forgot How Many Beers He Had. If X equals hero points gained by going to work, Y equals work done, Z equals time of commute -- there's a formula in here somewhere, is my point!

"He's got his Top Gallant Sails out" is my favorite. I am afraid to google "Been too free with Sir John Strawberry".

Also liked "too free with the creature."

Picture all of these said in a Geoffrey Rush Pirates of the Caribbean voice and they're even better.

Before I could just take the day off. Now I must also pretend to be working.

Yes, the Teleworker's Burden. I think Kipling addressed this at one point.

I bet he used up his free Amazon Prime shipping before he absquatulated.


that was my chat eject word today! Thank you all for your participation! Be safe in the snow! Keep reading the Compost and feel free but unobliged 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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