ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Jul 18, 2017

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Hello hello! Happy Tuesday to all! Today, like the day before and the day after, is a palindrome!

You need to do an ode on the living dead health reform bill.

Boy, this healthcare bill, it keeps popping up unwanted more than iTunes!!!

hm maybe on second thought I should not do such an ode

What are the best eclipse-related movies, music, or novels? I can think of only two. Mel Gibson's Apocalypto includes Mayans reacting to an eclipse. I'm totally expecting POTUS to tweet that OUR upcoming total eclipse marks the end of OUR civilization. Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" includes these lyrics: "Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun." Revisiting those lyrics reminded me of a high school classmate who was a talented photographer (and student government president.) He photographed a total eclipse of the sun in Nova Scotia in 1972. He sold one of his photos to the brand new Smithsonian Magazine for something like $1,000 and it appeared in full color on the last page of an issue. Impressive! He used the money to book passage on a ship of scientists and eclipse geeks that followed the path of another total eclipse somewhere exotic (maybe off the coast of Madagascar?) He unluckily dropped his camera on deck and it broke. Luckily another photographer on board gave/lent/sold him one of his spare cameras, so he was able to photograph that eclipse too. I totally lost touch with my former schoolmate, but googled him recently and, no surprise, he's a professional photographer. Google didn't indicate whether or not he's still an eclipse geek. And it would be creepy to contact him after four and a half decades to ask.

You could say you were contacting him on behalf of an Illustrious League of Chatters, though, and that there were TENS of people waiting with bated breath to learn what he had become. 

There is always "Twilight: Eclipse."

without imp unity.

you also can't spell impunity without 'im pun' but that means less 

Everyone else in the world uses day/month/year. (Yeah, I know, I spoil Pi Day every March, too.)

why would you want to spoil Pi day? what did a pie ever do to you?

There's always "Total Eclipse of the Heart," though I suppose that's more metaphorical than an actual solar or lunar eclipse. Still, great song.

US Air ads that said "US Air begins with U." No. It begins with US.

"There's no I in Tim!" wait

LinkedIn is the tool you're looking for here. I wonder sometimes how my life would have different if there had been social media when I moved away from my hometown at 18.

I saw the last solar eclipse of the millennium in Turkey (August 1999). During the event, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra played (live) Holst: The Planets. So you might listen to that (Prime eligible). This year I am going to see the solar eclipse in Cookeville, TN.

Where are the best places to watch? I have been hearing South Carolina?

The Alex Jones as Bon Iver music video or the Star Wars, but all lightsaber sounds are Owen Wilson saying "wow" video?

I love the Alex Jones as Bon Iver music video, hands down. The lightsaber sounds are already at peak excellence. 

How are your Prius and your cats? You cannot argue with cogent criticism like that email you got. The writer made a strong point.

For folks who don't spend as much time as I do on Twitter, I shared an excellent email recently from a reader demanding to know why I did not drive my Prius home to feed my cats and wonder aloud why no one asked me to the Prom. Please, emailer. MULTIPLE CATS and a CAR? I should be so lucky! 

Is it a confession profession? I admit I was looking for opposites that fit together (the classic "opposite of progress is congress does not fit the bill). I'm guessing you, or someone in Petriland, can do better.

I like "confession profession"! 

A contractor uses a protractor. 

Kirk Cousins wants a protracted contract. 

Can you profit from confit? 

There's something to be done about throwing confetti at prophets but let me hand it over before we reach that point.

per the National Hurricane Center, it is "small" and "not well organized".

I hope this is a joke made up of actual things the NHC has said about it, not just things that it would be funny for the NHC to say! It seems a little on-the-nose for Donald to be the name of the small disorganized system of bad weather that could put a number of people out of house and home. 

I love pie. I adore pie. I am a midwesterner! I live for pie! But I want to see it celebrated properly, on 22/7.

That's this week!

Never mind, I'm in!

It's overwrought crap rasped by a female Rod Stewart tribute act. And it was written by the same guy who wrote and produced Meat Loaf (That's Mr. Loaf to the New York Times). By the way, the cat my wife adopted is now known as Meat Loaf because he's gray and round (he beat anorexia!) and would be better cold on white bread with ketchup.

You had me until "gray and round" and then I started to worry that you were planning to eat this cat. 

I like Total Eclipse of the Heart, but I like all unnecessarily long songs whose lyrics make no sense. 

and not a Death Star attack?

Do we hear millions of voices suddenly crying out in terror?

where the likelihood of cloud cover during the relevant two minutes is much lower.

Brace yourself for a lot of Clair de Lune. Not coincidentally, I listened to Debussy's Arabesque -- or one of them, or whatever is going on there. I am not a musicologist.

Was it the one that is supposed to sound like a swan? I had to play that piece on the piano for years but I could never get it to sound like a swan, somehow. 

I live in Idaho, and the eclipse is a huge deal here. Many small towns that are in the prime line of viewing are anticipating tens of thousands of visitors. Idaho is also known for its substantial population of doomsdayers, and they are stocking up in anticipation. I suspect that eclipse day will be highly surreal around these parts, and not just because of the celestial event.

This sounds fascinating, though! What kind of doomsday supplies does an eclipse demand? Do people think it will put out the grid?

The late, great B. Kliban used to draw a cat that resembled a meat loaf, captioned thusly.

So I drive a hybrid Camry and have TWO cats at home. Does that mean I'm living the dream? But I commute on socialistic public transportation and I also have a wonderful wife at home so maybe I'm not quite where Mr. Angry Emailer wants me to be.

is one a meatloaf cat? 

OK, it's hilarious - and ironic? - that opposite all the WashPo homepage headlines about how our govt is failing and how miserable things seem to be here, there is a BIG ad for Canada. Apparently "It's All Found in Canada". Heh.

What an unfortunate slogan to put over a page of Gloomy News. "You Won't Find Any Of This In Canada" would better suit the occasion. 

Apple, pumpkin, chocolate cream, and cherry.

These are all excellent pies, but I would trade any of them for peach in an instant. 

But I'm pretty sure that swans are terrible at the piano.

This made me chuckle! + 8!

"Sharpest knife in drawer, you are not."

especially if he paused a long time before that last word

it would really have gotten his targets where they lived

Pretty cool and easy to use: . I'm sure ease of travel and likelihood of clouds are the dominant factors, as opposed to finding a different point in the path direction. But also you want to be closer to the center of the path for maximum effect.

I mean, laterally. Or. You know? Words are hard.

That makes more sense!

I strongly take issue with the celebrating of Pi Day on 22/7. This should only be allowed if you're a rational, non-American. However, as pi is strictly irrational, it should only be celebrated on 3/14 here in the states.

I like this rationale. Or rather, irrationale?

He was the July 8th Heloise "Pet of the Week." ( ) The photo and hat were both done by my daughter when she flew home in January to visit after the holidays. But I only drive a Corolla (base model 5-speed stick).

Aw, what a good award-winning hatted cat! A cat willing to sit and be photographed in a hat is worth several swanky cars. 


From Twitter: Don may now (or soon will) lack the qualifications needed to be a tropical storm: The headline is: Tropical Storm Don weakening on approach to Windward Islands, forecast to ‘degenerate’

*sighs* well, if we're doing this

"ironically, the 25 percent of the country really made to suffer by Don's approach will still believe Don is qualified to be a real storm"

One meatloaf cat (dedicated to leisure) and one butterscotch drop cat (a string enthusiast). Life is good.

Aww this is great! I like this taxonomy. 

This is a real chat chat! (This joke does not work out loud at all.) 

Mince. :-P


Cat Saying Hey. Hands down.

I like that the info for the video just says "The proletariat is being exploited by American Oligarchy"

They have many months worth of nonperishable food (the grocery stores sell these huge survival tubs full of packets of dehydrated food), bottled water, and all of the guns they can fit in their bunker. I don't think they have solar panels, though. Just lots of batteries and flashlights, and flint stones so they can make fire without using matches or a lighter.

And the vitamins are delicious!

No, that is something different. 

There's a short story in which an eclipse plays an important part, called (aptly enough) The Eclipse, by Augusto Monterroso.

Don't forget marionberry pie. It's the apotheosis of berry pies.


Fun fact about Holst's Planets suite- he didn't write one for Pluto because it hadn't been discovered at the time he was composing the music. And then now it's not a planet after all, so his suite is still accurate.

Holst was playing the long game. 

"The popular approximation of 22/7 = 3.1428571428571... is close but not accurate. " Well, OK then. I concede.

Hopkinsville, KY is the best place because the eclipse is total and duration is longest. Extensive Facebook presence. Many if not most hotels/camp grounds are sold out. Cookeville is good too, and not quite as far as Hopkinsville.

I love that we live in the era of human existence where our response to eclipses is to go follow them and camp out beneath them. As opposed to the era when they were signs and portents and we would have to hand over our government to different people. 

So few people seem to remember him now! We have all of his books and a couple of T-shirts, too. AND, last year when we were at a small art gallery in Northern California, we met Kliban's daughter, who is also an artist. We embarrassed her by genuflecting.

Pink Floyd's Eclipse, the last "song," on the Dark Side of the Moon. And everything under the sun is in tune But the sun is eclipsed by the moon

I was in an on-line forum last fall and there was a transatlantic discussion of pies. Brits on pumpkin: You put SUGAR AND MILK AND EGGS in a savory vegetable? Yanks: You people put SUGAR in your meat pies? it was fought to a draw.

I am willing to hear and eat both sides. Is pie a side? I guess it depends what the main course is. 

The only thing better would be to hold a cat prom, to which you drive them in your Prius.


has this not happened already?

if it hasn't, let's make it happen. 

For entrée: Spinach or Asparagus Quiche. For dessert: Lemon Meringue or Apricot pie.

Oh man, if we are admitting quiche as a pie, my whole calculus changes. 

to the "type of pie" clue in the crossword puzzle in the Express this morning. I know Metro is having a slow day when I can completely finish it during my actual ride to work (not working on it while waiting for a train, it only works as an assessment if only get the paper once I am on board).

If you were in NYC, you would have had enough time to finish it but no room to move your elbows to write the answers in. 

If I had spared a second to check, I would have said ornithologist instead of biologist. Now what are historians going to think of me, anonymous user, when they unearth this chat? (* I mean, archeologists, perhaps? I dunno. I leave it to the English majors.)

They will heap up shame on your anonymous head from this generation henceforth and forevermore! 

People missed the most important part of the story about tropical storm Don: "Meanwhile, in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, a new tropical depression formed which is likely to be named Tropical Storm Hilary some time Tuesday."

frankly i don't like how political these tropical depressions are getting

i miss when the thing that ate my house was unaffiliated. 

There's also a long novel with an eclipse playing an important part: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

So your fellow Postie Dan Steinberg just posted a bit from an email he got about Kirk "Kurt" Cousins not signing and it may win the prize. She says that here are people who are fighting and look to the NFL for uplift and how he should be in it for the team instead of himself. Then, "My son will again be deployed shortly. I hope that Kirk thinks of those people who are defending this county, who are looking out for his freedom to play ball, negotiate a contract for millions, etc., before he takes his next dive. Sincerely, The mother of a soldier who wears #8." Wow. I wonder if Kirk drives a Prius?

For better results I think this mother should try to email Kirk instead of Dan... But wow. That's quite an email. 

Don Jr.'s lawyer said Jr. was prepared to make a "fulsome" statement about the Russian meeting. What do you call a grammatical mistake that leads to accidental truth-telling?


I don't know, but I think this chat is the place to coin it. 

I think I have seen that on a menu (or on a dinner table) maybe twice in my life...occasionally see it in the frozen desserts aisle at supermarkets, but not even all that often. Would never have guessed that it is more popular than, say, lemon meringue or key lime (if we are looking at the custardy/gelled types of pies)

I don't think pie can be a side, on either side of the pond. It's either the main course (quiche or British meat pie) or dessert.

I suspect it will be just like my senior prom, during which my date disappeared and spent the evening with her friend who was coughing up Boone's Farm hairballs.


What about Pizza Pie ????? (That's Amore)

and you can silence critics who think you shouldn't have pie for breakfast by calling it quiche.

Was it the one that is supposed to sound like a swan? I had to play that piece on the piano for years but I could never get it to sound like a swan, somehow. That's "The Swan" from Camille Saint-Saens' "Carnival of the Animals." Probably the wittiest classical piece ever written, though even better when the poems Ogden Nash wrote for a performance are read before each movement.

That's the one I meant! Thank you!

Would be followed by an after-Prom at a Cat Cafe.

If it's made in a pie pan, and has a bottom crust, it's a pie. I extend this even to graham-cracker crusts and springform pans that cheesecakes are baked in.

What? No! There is no actual meat in mince pies! It's apples and raisins, and candied peel and whatnot. Where are you getting your information? I DEMAND TO KNOW

Mince pie ingredients: Combine the cooked beef, apples, raisins, sweet pickle vinegar, pineapple, orange, salt, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, sorghum and 1 cup beef broth.

Are my responses coming through? 

Please stop calling everything "grammar." This is a lexical or semantic mistake. Punctuation is not grammar and neither is spelling. Also, the term for this mistake is "gaffe."

You're right. These are all just semantic distinctions until someone insists that they are grammatical distinctions... 

I do think there's got to be some sort of pun, though. 

My family always had pumpkin and mincemeat pies at Thanksgiving dinner, and I couldn't stand either. As an adult I scrapped this tradition and make my favorite pie for holidays: Pecan Pie, topped with either Chantilly (sweetened, vanilla-scented) whipped cream or premium Vanilla ice cream.

This sounds delicious!

My grandfather was a crotchety old fisherman from Down East Maine. He had a wicked thick accent and, after my grandmother died, guardianship of an equally crotchety old cat. The cat's name was Sweet Pea and she was enormously fat, probably because she ate almost nothing but crabmeat. I don't remember that Grandpa ever called her by name. Instead he referred to her by using his common term for any member of the felis catus family: Chitty Chat. Used to yell out the back door for her: "C'mere you [censored] old [censored] [censored] Chitty Chat!" I miss them both.

Every detail of this delighted me, especially the enormous cat who ate only crabmeat. 

How in the world does chocolate cream pie beat out blueberry? I love chocolate, but fresh blueberry pie in the summer can't be beat. Admittedly, I'm biased, since I grew up with a mother who makes spectacular homemade blueberry pie, but come on. Blueberry pie hands down (and if you get it in Maine, all the better). Now I want pie for lunch.

I think maybe the true answer lurking beneath all these pie preferences is [homemade pie from my youth] is the best pie. Which, fair. 

So John Adams wrote "Nixon in China" about one of the major events in the Nixon Presidency. What's a good working title for an opera about the Trump Presidency?


Isaac Asimov's "Nightfall", a true classic.

will devour people during solar eclipses.

Okay, officially Itzapapalotl is the most terrifying of all the gods. Butterflies are one of those things where scale makes all the difference. Beautiful when tiny, when large they would be unthinkably frightening. 

The quiche to shukshesh is getting drunk all the time.

This reminds me of what I heard as a Bush 2/Cheney joke but clearly is as old as the word quiche: Bush and Cheney walk into a diner and the waitress says, "What'll you have?" and Bush says, "I'll have a quickie!" at which the waitress is gravely upset. Cheney leans over. "It's pronounced 'quiche.'" 

True, original mince pie does in fact have ground meat and suet in it. It was desperation food. You took what fat you had and added enough other fruit and stuff to it to make it palatable. Go look it up. "Mince" is still British for "ground beef."

I love desperation recipes, like Welsh Rarebit or "maybe if I heat this thing in my freezer long enough I can figure out what it is" from my own culture. 

The only ones I see are the ones coming through. Does that help?

I cannot possibly begin to say how much it helped. 

Go back through historical did indeed contain meat, back when it was a way to preserve the food for a long time rather than just a holiday oddity.

No one really likes it. My MIL never made pumpkin pie because no one in the family liked it, but her rum chiffon pie was to die for.

Any pie with the name of a fabric in it tends to be a good pie. 

Admittedly I can only think of "chiffon" so maybe this is not a good rule. Pecan taffeta pie sounds like a pie that went very wrong at some point. 

For one aria, perhaps the lyrics to "Rockin' Robin" could be changed, but the "Tweet-Tweet-Tweet" backup retained?

If there are any Capitol Steps in this chat, they should take heed! 

I have seen recipes for French Silk Pie which appears to be chocolate, although I'm not sure how the French come into it, except in that way that Americans call anything they really like "Euro"

That is why there is such love for Euro N Greyjoy. 


Someone has sent a huge flotilla of 1's and i think this might be a good note to end on ! Have a glorious week, everyone! See you on Twitter (@petridishes) and the blog (! 

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Alexandra Petri
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