ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Feb 04, 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.

Past ComPost Live Chats

Connect on Twitter: @PostLive | @petridishes

Happy Tuesday, all! Welcome to the chat!

1. Getting them to leave their zip code. 2. Getting them not to talk about the children.

Is this just accurate information for chatters' edification, or a joke I'm not getting? Also, I think, varies by age of children.

for throwing someone off a balcony? Defenestrate is one of my favorite words ever, but I'm not sure how to manipulate the Latin word for balcony (maeniana according to google translate) to make it mean throw off a balcony the way defenestrate means to throw out a window. By the way, my peeps diorama contest submission from several years ago - The Defenestration of Peeps - completely failed to catch the eyes of the judges. I blame the entire Wash Post news room, and I bite my thumb at you for it. So there. (It was a really cool diorama, based on the wood cut that you would find if you wiki the Defenestration of Prague but with some period appropriate art including a Madonna and Egg.)

Aw, I apologize on our behalf!

I think we need to coin a word! I don't know what to do with maeniana and I think it might be reserved for the upper levels of arenas, although I might be mistaken.

Arrachement is one of my favorite non-English words, and even though it means uprooting and isn't balcony-specific, I feel like there could be something there.

Not even made in America!


I am learning a lot about bird from the news. I learned that if a sea hawk meets a bronco the sea hawk actually gets the better of a bronco. Who knew? Yet if an owl meets a bus, the bus gets the better of the owl. Well, I am now off to read about a flock of Orioles preparing to meet in Florida in a few days.

We live in a great era for augurs!

Did you read about how they caught the owl? Also, if the toll of addiction hadn't been awful recent news, the headline "Snowy owl doing well at rehab facility" is kind of funny.

How long does it take to go from Attorney Private to Attorney General? Is there an attorney boot camp? I mean, I can see the postmaster army out marching and doing drills every day; I assume the officers stay in the back of those bunkers with the flag out front.

This conjures up alarming visions of armies of attorneys marching across the country laying waste to all they come across and chanting "TORT! TORT! TORT!" to themselves, so, thank you for that.

Following up from last week. As a fellow nerd and feminist, what is your opinion on the introduction of a elf warrior woman character in the second Hobbit movie? A positive addition of a strong female character in a universe where representation is lacking, or yet another "strong female character" introduced only as a love interest for one of the main male characters?

Hm, I liked her, even though I think she did fall victim to the "Oh Look! The Lady Character Had A Bow And Arrow" syndrome. ("What was she like?" "She had a bow and arrow." "What was her personality?" "Um, strung?")

What I thought was weirder was the fact that Legolas had to chaperone her everywhere. I know it was supposed to be some sort of love triangle situation, but if you're going to have a Strong Female Elf wandering around shooting arrows at things, does she really need a chaperone from the previous trilogy?

The problem is with the individual couple, not with the fact that they have kids. There are normal parents out there, I swear. The ones who won't leave their zip code, you just have to say, "Bye, see you in 18 years."

Some zip codes extend unexpectedly in cool directions, though! There might be a brunch place in there!

Glad to hear it's not a universal problem, though!

Lately I've been channeling my inner Gollum when emailing/texting my husband. Should I be worried? Should he?

How do you feel about POTATOES? Also, hey, you have a ring that makes you invisible to men in bars, so you've got something in common with the guy.


We spent a significant anniversary in the Caribbean several years ago and were disappointed to learn that all the tropical fruits we thought were native to those islands were actually brought from the Asian tropics. Except grapefruit.

How far that little grapefruit throws his beams! So shines a good fruit in a naughty world.

Demaenianate. Perfectly simple. "Romeo, that was a lark, and if you don't get out of here before everyone in the house wakes up, I will have to demaenianate you."

But look at/listen to it! Drop a vowel or pick one up by mistake and you wind up with Bacchantes on your hands.

Tolkein was not known for his ability to write for female roles.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Maybe it's a quirk of Middle Earth. Reminds me of this Hive theory of Star Wars.

I have discovered that, if you are in a restaurant with a fussy baby, it is NOT acceptable to leave said baby as a tip.

Good to know!

Especially if the baby belongs to the other party at the table.

Are you kidding? A ring puts a big bullseye on a solo woman in a bar. Apparently it's a competition thing.

Then it shares the same power of the original to attract hordes of creepy singleminded bearded men to you, I guess.

I'm not sure these questions are even worth discussing, since most of the three movies is stuff Peter Jackson made up to fill three movies' worth of time from a slim book. Why didn't he make each of the three LotR movies trilogies? Between him and George Lucas, I don't trust any famous director who promises trilogies.

This is true. Part of the reason the rule of three works in comedy is that it's the minimum number of items required to set up an expectation, then thwart it horribly. Directors should take note. 

Have you read Kevin Hearne's entertaining Iron Druid series of novels? It's not the hands the Bacchantes are after.

I haven't, but it sounds like I should! I know in the Bacchae they come out ahead by a head.

"they even managed to pump up the women's roles. Which is nice because Tolkien tended to describe and use female characters just a bit less than he'd describe and use a wagon wheel or an especially nice chair."

Chairs are amazing, though, and I respect Tolkien's nuanced treatment of chairs.

Creepy Singleminded Bearded Men. We will open shows for Desperately Lonely Delusional Women.

These really roll off the tongue! Can't wait to see what your groupies look like.

Do you care? I do.


I am excited to see if the Muppets' nostalgia offensive will succeed. "What are these characters?" the kids say.

"Shh," everyone involved says. "You are going to love them, and that is final. Look, Tina Fey!"

The wood elf king was Legolas father and Legolas was alive at the time of the Hobbit, so his being added is somewhat believable. Though I would have preferred he had a cameo as opposed to an action role in the 2nd movie. In the third movie I would have understood if he had an action role.

I mean, it's not like Orlando Bloom's schedule is jam-packed...

You should apologize, pay your bill, and leave immediately. Donning fireproof suit now.

Donning fireproof suit just for posting this for you.

Borborygmic is the rumbling you hear produced by intestinal gas.

Oh, love it!

Speaking of intestinal gas: carminative!

I was not a fan of the action sequences in general nor the love triangle, so that really made me not like the character. Though I did find the her freckles on her face to be delightful and at times distracting on the big screen.

I did enjoy the barrels!

So any progress on getting him deported?

If only! Petition's well signed, as far as that goes!

25 years ago, Tom Paxton wrote a song called "One Million Lawyers," decrying the fact that there would be that many of them in ten years. I'm sure it's only gotten worse.

Then again, this lawyer seems like a cool gentleman. If that's the phrase I want.

I have been that dad. I always took the baby outside. Sometimes the baby would stop crying and I would return, but most often my wife and friends would finish their meals, box up my meal,pay and then I would eat at home.

Diners everywhere salute you, sir.

It didn't seem like much of a triangle. The first thing we see of Tauriel is that she awesomely fights some orcs. The second thing is the smoldering glances she exchanges with Kili. (Or was it Fili? Dammit.) Even the medical herb scene is transformed from a "hey, look at her awesome elf medicine skills" scene to a "hey, she's rescuing her dwarf boyfriend" scene. Romance has to be the result of character development; it can't substitute for character development.

Yeah, it seemed to happen awfully fast, but maybe that's how they do things in Middle Earth!

(I like how "Maybe that's how they do things in Middle Earth!" has become my go-to excuse for every obvious glaring character development flaw so far.)

So why didn't you just get a babysitter in the first place? (I'm practising up for Tom Sietsema's chat tomorrow)

I sense a specific incident lurking in your past that has ruined restaurant babies for you.

And age isn't as big a factor as you might think. We spent one evening with friends whose kids were in college. They spent the whole dinner complaining about the wayward kid who was being grounded and calling said kid on her cell phone to make sure she hadn't sneaked out.

Parents: You Can't Take Them ANYWHERE!

... augur buzzard?

Laden or unladen?

And on that note, I have to skedaddle! Fuller chat next week, I promise! In the mean time, I'm on the Twitters (not unlike an augur buzzard!) and keep reading the Compost!

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.)
Recent Chats
  • Next: