ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Feb 14, 2017

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Live chat with Alexandra Petri at 11 a.m. ET. Submit questions and comments for her to respond to now.

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Connect on Twitter: @petridishes And catch up with the blog here!

HAPPY TUESDAY, happy V day, all!

Roses are red

Violets can be cloying

Should I conduct the whole chat in this format

or is that annoying?

So Mike Flynn resigned because he inadvertently did something as a result of the "fast pace of events" BEFORE the Trump administration even took office. Although one couldn't seem to make up this stuff, and the jokes would seem to write themselves (for example, "the job must get easier after you actually start doing it, or "fortunately, actually being in charge of the Nation's security isn't a full time job"), the quality of your humorous columns (often about "sad" events) and other WaPo content is impressive. How can you and your colleagues pace yourselves? Can you enforce on yourselves some mandatory time off? "Tag team" a column? I fear that outside the Beltway news reporting of these likely telling events is lost in the din of sheer volume (as if emanating from a fire hose) and daily life. I do hope that a form such as you have mastered can break through.

Roses are red

thank you, kind lad!

there is too much news

and it is all bad 

Okay, the quotation marks clearly indicate I'm biased. My mom makes one of those jello things that has jello (duh), fruit, and whipped cream. She says it's a salad. If she asks "do you want me to make anything special?" and I say I want the jello, she then asks "what do you want me to make for dessert?" I think the jello salad IS dessert. Maybe I should be asking Free Range Food, or Hax, but I really think this question is your type of thing.

Roses are red

You can respond with tact!

calling jello a salad's

alternative fact

which I played for the first time (never played original Risk either) this weekend with my nephew. He decided to be the Empire, so I played the Rebels (no, we aren't worried about him). For the Rebel side to win, I had to take down the shield generator and then use ships to get the Death Star. So pretty much all I did in the game was advance toward the shield generator and move a reasonable number of my ships out of the Rebel bases so if the Death Star took out their planets, they wouldn't be destroyed. During the course of the game, I let Darth Vader/the emperor kill Luke with almost no attempt to defend him or convert Vader to the Light Side. I let the Millennium Falcon get taken out with no attempt to even move it out of the way. I left a bunch of my fighters (and their pilots, presumably) get taken out rather than even move them away from the Tie fighters (hey, I had plenty more just a few sectors away). So, pretty much the worst possible outcome for the story/movie. Tragedy all around. Oh, and I won. I wonder if the creators of the game realized that at least one of the easy paths to victory (because my rolls of the dice were OK, but nothing ultra lucky) involves ruining the overall arc of the story. My nephew got a bonus for taking out Luke, but it wasn't enough to make up for all the time he spent trying to kill him. Have you ever played? I wonder if anyone else has noticed this.

Roses are red

No I have not!

i'm sad a good strategy

Ruins the plot!


Roses are red

(Thank you, Obama)

guess the galaxy SHOULD

ignore Skywalker drama


is that you will inevitably choose questions and comments from us that lend themselves to rhymed couplets. We are too traumatized to handle trying to tempt you to pick our stuff. Also, I pre-submitted a question about Star Wars Risk and I really want an answer.

I answered it once

then attempted to double it 

My first post was a 

Trial balloon for a couplet

Roses are red / I'm starboard- not port-handed / The start of this poem / Should be short-handed. I mean... we should come up with shorthand for it. Like "RAR" or something. Also we can pretend we are a tiger. #InBed. No, just for the chat.


this beginning is jolly

also it sounds

like that poor bobcat Ollie




Roses are red, War is hell, Let us be civil, Mademoiselle. - Abraham Lincoln.


still that one is much closer

than the one that they found

on an inspirational pos(t)er


This is OK, but only if you promise the May 4th chat will all be in Yodaspeak.

roses are red

this vow, I will make

is there chat on May Four

or is that a mistake?


Ah, culture clash and a generation gap in one!

Today's romantic comedies aren't funny. They're really cringe-y, which isn't the same as funny. Got any solid recommendations for something along the lines of Hepburn-Tracy but made in the last 10 years?


romcoms no longer thrive

still I enjoyed

Chris Rock's charming "Top Five"


(though it does have that whole thing of where a journalist hooks up with a source and that trope bothers me)


RAR / VAB / Ollie the cat / Is back at the zoo

VAB / RAR / It's short & easy / TWSS

There haven't been any postings for the last 30 minutes.


That resounding silence was me failing to bring a charger to the remote chat and getting logged out by the system once I plugged back in! I am here now! 


I'm running across the street to get a card and some roses before the lunch rush because I forgot.

because that format is so incredibly annoying, I cannot take it.

Hey, that doesn't rhyme!

Lucky for you May 4th is a Thursday. Can we stop with the rhymes half way though this chat? Gene W's attempts at poetic humor are bad enough.

Hey, I really liked the one he did about Trump and his panic attacks!

chat is annoying dont know how to rhyme tell me you'll try to be normal next time

Dang, i am getting a more resounding chat consensus in favor of prose than we've had in favor of anything since, uh, toilet paper over the top of the roll.

I think the answer is in Empire: Never tell me the odds! Seriously, though, Star Wars Risk strikes me as a good example of why you shouldn't be ruled by sentiment, and how the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. Which is, you know, a different canon.

I hope this is a Star Trek reference! I just saw the one where a molten rock disguised as Abraham Lincoln, a molten rock disguised as Surak, Spock, and Kirk fight Genghis Khan and others of History's Greatest Monsters in order to amuse a further assembly of rock monsters. 

Are we not all rock monsters in the final analysis?

RAR / This poem is hack / I'm heating cheese sticks / And now we're back!

Hepburn-Tracy is cringey now, too. Too "tough woman must be turned into a subservient adorer for everyone's good."

The trouble with all romcoms is that the Taming of the Shrewwas the original romcom.

I'm a professional cowboy and I use catheters. I know pain.

Oh no! 

As George III said, "it was my destiny to be the king of Payne."

All the early references to him in the book are to how tall he is. Plus how much money he has, but also to the height thing. I mean he might not be tall by our standards, but he was generally considered handsome and tall. No particular reference to the width of his shoulders that I can recall. There was a BBC production before the Colin Firth one. David Rintoul played Darcy. 1980. My mom got me the book so I could read it before it was on TV. Swallowed the book and loved the adaptation. It did not take many liberties other than what you have to do to cut a book to less than 5 hours of TV. NO manly plunging into the pond, either. Darcy was tall and slim, but not skinny. As he is described in the book.

THANK YOU. Well put.

I think this is just another case of scholars figuring out how to get into the news, but it especially rankles given that he is literally canonically tall.

Roses are red Violets are not This is kinda hard But I'll give it a shot

YES! Weingarten insists it should go the other way, but of course it must go over the top! It's cuz he's a dude and doesn't have to use it every time.

I used to be solidly pro-under because my theory was that it gave you more granular control, but several charters pointed out that it also invited cat tampering, and I do not wish to invite cat tampering.

My plans for this evening include walking to the neighborhood library and picking up a book, then walking home and reading it. Maybe I'll indulge in some chocolate, too.

As Oscar Wilde said, "To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance."

Your Roses are red opening made me think of the only poem I ever wrote. I was working in communications for a financial company in New York, and Emperor Hirohito of Japan had just died. Our Tokyo office asked us to compose a suitable condolence note to send to the New York Japanese consulate, and I was asked to write it. I immediately came up with: "Violets are blue / Roses are red, So sorry to hear / Your emperor's dead." I could not continue after that, since I couldn't get it out of my head. Someone else wrote a more sober one.

This is the best and worst thing I've read all day! Thank you so much for sharing!

Just saw a meme on Facebook of Colin Firth, captioned "RAR/VAB I find you tolerable."

I missed the live chat last week but I love a good kiss-off song and wanted to contribute a couple less known songs that I yelled along with repeatedly when they came out in the mid-00s: This Valentine Ain't No Saint and Shotgun Serenade, both by the Juliana Theory. Any chance you'll assemble the playlist for Valentine's Day? Seems appropriate...

That does seem like an appropriate endeavor! I'll do it!

The TOS episode title was "Savage Curtain." Kirk's and Spock's rock monster opponents were Colonel Green, Genghis Khan, Kahless the Unforgettable and the lady scientist from Tiburon.

That's the one! And of course Roddenberry wrote it.

So is Much Ado About Nothing. So is Twelfth Night. So, Lord save us, is All's Well That Ends Well. And Midsummer Night's Dream - well, wait, there are at least two head strong women getting subdued in that one, even though they may be played by the same person. So, in a bunch of those there are some strong or at least clever women who get the guy without becoming (or pretending to become) total doormats.

This is definitely true. Then again, the taming of the shrew model where you have to Wear The Feisty Woman Down crops up more frequently than the, er, I'll Ruin All Relationships By Pretending I'm My Twin model. 

What I should have said is that the problem with romcoms is that they are emulating Taming of the Shrew instead of Much Ado. Much Ado is just great and terrific and should be the model for all things (poor Hero though). 

Sorry but I'm an under person.

I reluctantly agree. Toddler tampering, too. But in our house we have neither pets nor small children, so the TP goes over the roll.

Mark Twain said outside of a book, a dog is man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

I had also heard that attributed to Groucho Marx! Whoever said it (probably Abe Lincoln), he was right.

There once was girl from the Post, Who rhymed the whole chat she did host. Oh, how we did cringe, While our eyes they did twinge. Please stop or this chat will be toast!

i can't tell if this is part of the problem or part of the solution! but I'm posting it anyway!

For those who prefer their Austen from Sense & Sensibility: "Roses are red/ Violets are blue/ I highly esteem you/ And I like you too." That's what we need more of: intense passion, severely restrained.

More restraint please! But not too much. And not the 50 Shades sort, unless of course that is what floats your boat in which case Godspeed and so forth. 

Must mention the Gallery of Regrettable Food, which has several references to Abominations With Jello

Haven't checked the guest bathroom lately but in my personal sanctuary I don't even put the TP on the spindle. My method is to wrap it around my four fingers a couple times then remove that, neither folded nor crinkled, and send it into battle.

"send it into battle" is great and evocative and I may have to start using that!

What happened to those wonderfully tasteless insulting-to-your-supposedly-infantile-wife/girlfriend Vermont Teddy Bear commercials that inundate us this time of year? It's V Day and I have not seen one.

You're right! Where is that beloved Vermont treasure? I blame the DNC. 

roses are polychrome, violets are indigo, I have no concerns, just showing off vocabulary.

Plus if you are one of those who like it with a pattern, the pattern is 'over the top'/on the outside of the roll. So it seems intended to roll down over the top to see the pattern!

I hate to turn images to text, but it had four panels of tp and the holder. They were labelled "Over" - roll over the top; "Under" - roll under the bottom; "Sideways" - roll sitting on the holder rod; "Child" - no roll.

You did a good job converting this to text! It holds up!

Poor Hero indeed. Claudio is a much bigger jerk in the unabridged version than he is usually portrayed. I don't think it's a whole lot better than "Taming." As an example of successful relationships, that is.

BUT! Beatrice and Benedick! They get together without compromising who they are as individuals! They are fully fledged people who like each other and complement one another! 

Hero and Claudio, yeegh, as you say. 

right before I took the bar exam. She was talking to the rep about what accessories to include with the bear. Mom suggested a rabbit's foot. The rep evidently didn't think this was a great idea. Mom said it was for good luck. The rep replied it wasn't good luck for the rabbit. They settled on a ribbon and a horse shoe. I am very grateful for that VT teddy bear company employee. I'm not a vegetarian or anything, but I think I might have been upset to get a teddy bear with a dead animal foot hanging on its paw. Little things set me off easily right about then. High stakes test and all.

This sounds like it worked out well for everyone involved, including but not limited to the rabbit, your mom, and you! 

You're part of the precipitate.

Yes, excellent! We have good chemistry together!

if they are rock monsters.

This seems like the best possible note to end on, and so that is what I am going to do!

Have a swell week, everyone! Hang in there! I'm on Twitter (@petridishes) and the blog ( and I'll post the playlist as an update to this chat shortly, barring unforeseen Spotify snafus which will inevitably occur! 

And if you don't have other plans, I'm part of Tinder Live tonight at the Lincoln Theater with the esteemed Lane Moore  and Heather Matarazzo!

No rhymes, I promise!




Here it is! I called it "Be Mine, Vengeance." 

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