ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Sep 19, 2017

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Ahoy, everyone! Happy (?) Speech to the UNGA day! And talk like a pirate day, to those who celebrate. 

How be ya?

There is avast difference between how I was yesterday and how I arr today. 

I had a good laugh this weekend when Trump tweeted a train with a MAGA cap on. This train is a Canadien National (CN) train! So long with MAGA (or maybe Trump understands MAGA as a continental thing which I have my doubts....).

It would be quite something if Donald Trump turned out to be understanding MAGA on a continental basis, though it might cast his relationship with the wall into a new and baffling light.   

Then a handful would get tossed back. I'd rethink my route to the grocery store.

I like whatever version of the universe you rode in on this morning. 

Everyone clutch their pearls.

I am fully on team "their." English needs a standard gender-neutral third person pronoun! It is about time we caught up with other languages! Now that we are here, though, we should stop before assigning genders to nouns like chairs and computers, like certain languages I could name. Beauty and the Beast is really just a faithful adaptation of what French already is doing to the underlying words. 

Four women, no men. Not sure who Sabine Wren is, though.

Oh, Sabine Wren! That character I definitely know about!

(I have done a quick google and it looks like she's a Mandalorian character from Rebels? Cool hair, though.)

I can recommend a table repairman.

I will enter this information into an appropriate chart. 

I moved my couch under my TV and watch it in a mirror on the opposite wall. It makes subtitled movies more challenging.

I bet! But I like the idea. Although I initially misread this as saying that you had put your TV under your couch and I was about to ask a lot of detailed follow-ups about getting the reflection and the magnification just right. 

Please not another Death Star.


seems particularly if depressingly appropriate, with Redbeard talking like a pirate at the UN.

Actually, that could be a plausible explanation. We do live in the era of the president most likely to decide that a UN general assembly speech is a good time to observe National Talk Like A Pirate Day. 

Huh. Apparently today's teens don't want to become adults. Can't imagine in the oh-so-wonderful place society has become recently....

I think the real thing to flag in this store is the phrase "traditional markers of adulthood." I think every generation has its own milestones. You can get around without a driver's license much more easily now than you could, and -- why are we upset that today's teens are drinking less? 

Hopefully not scurvy...

I have always been a scurvy lass...

Arrrrgyle, of course.

What do pirate feminists want to overturn?

The patriarrrrchy.

Is this about that guy who insists that The Rapture will happen sometime this week?

Honestly, I'm ready for it. Or, at least, ready to launch one of those post-rapture pet-care businesses. I hear that is where the money is. 

made me laugh when I turned the page and saw the headline "Hog butcher for the world"

HA! If only they'd put an ad nearby about how broad shoulders are coming back. 

No, no, don't do that!! Sorry, I just watched the second episode of Ken Burns's "Vietnam War" and the sight of Robert McNamara trying to run a war with charts is making my knee jerk and my eyelid twitch.

A small table, then. 

Is it turntables on or turn tables on? And doesn't the first one always result in the wrong person getting the goblet with the poisoned wine, as in The Assassination Bureau, Ltd.?

Which raises another question: When people say "Now, the tables have turned" do they mean rotated or flipped? Or are they speaking metaphorically about the piles of winnings that have mounted up on said tables?

It's eerie having someone watch you go to sleep.

The worst thing about mirrors is HOW DO YOU KNOW THEY CLOSE THEIR EYES WHEN YOU DO

What's the part of the massive military parade that Trump says he wants on July 4th that you are most looking forward to?

The fact that 2017 will be over by the time it occurs.

They're the perfect example of how the military-industrial complex keeps wars going, by doing the same (money-making) thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The real villain was the Empire's contractors!

I think the readership of this chat will love this story as much as I did about a 9-yr-old girl who was bullied for loving bugs. If nothing else, I adore that she describes having a "best bug friend and his name was Hoppers." Cutest thing ever.

This is amazing. "Hoppers" is a solid name. He sounds trustworthy. 

But...I've been using them for decades whenever I don't know the subject's gender and/or either one could be applicable. Ditto for "one" and "one's". I feel so ahead of the times.

You are! The world wasn't ready!

Rrr ye upset that Scurvy Dog Weingarten has captured the Noontime Slot? Rrrr ye plannin' a raid to recapture th' Booty?

Man the mainsails! Uh, cut the jibs! Or is it trim the jibs? Trim something! Mizzenmast! Belay everything! 

We've all seen cute videos of kittens who think their reflection in the mirror is another cat. But one of my cats truly understands the mirror. He sits on my dresser looking in the mirror which gives him a view of the doorway, so he can see if his sibling is coming to annoy him. I know he's watching, because if I walk in, he turns to look at me. Sitting on the dresser gives him more time & space to prepare for any sneak attack.

I am deeply impressed by this cat's wily genius. There's an old mosaic of Roman troops capturing a tiger by tricking it using a mirror ball and beguiling it with its reflection, but clearly if your cat's ancestors had anything to say about it the Colosseum would have been a more tranquil and tiger-free place. 

Does talking like Errol Flynn count as talking like a pirate?

No, but talking like Arrol Flynn does. 

NOOOOOOO!!!! Listen, I'm 100% in favor of a gender-neutral pronoun, but every time I see this it's like the written equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. I don't think I'm old/hidebound, but maybe I am. Regardless, please can't we come up with something better? Pretty please?

I'm just not sure any other contender for this pronoun slot could achieve wide enough usage in time to compete. I am sorry. I still get that nails on a chalkboard feeling when people say "it was EXACERBATING" when what they mean is "irritating," even though I think that's almost standard now. 

I've read that this originated at dinner parties, where you would spend a prescribed amount of time speaking with the person seated on your right, and then everyone would "turn the table" by simultaneously turning to the person on their left, and so on throughout the meal. This was a way of ensuring that no one was isolated or ignored. (You couldn't talk across the table because it was piled high with dishes and decorations.)

Whoa if true!

is that he says the Rapture will be caused by the approach of a secret planet that the astronomers and NASA don't know about.

Well, if they knew about it, it wouldn't be a very secret planet, would it?

I put part of Trump's speech through the Pirate Speak translator at '' ... nothing really interesting, probably because he talks in his own dialect. Here's a sample: 'be we still patriots? Do we love our nations enough t' protect their sovereignty and take ownership o' their futures?'

Hmm, yeah, that isn't working. It is the textual equivalent of drawing a silly face on your protruding neck-tumor. 

My cat does the same! If he's standing in front of the bathroom mirror and he sees us coming, he will turn and greet us. My cat's a genius obviously (called Edgar Allan Paw because he loves to run after ravens)

Edgar Allen Paw!!!!! 

This delights me. Don't put him in the wall, please.

A pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel in the front of his pants. Bartender asks "why is there a steering wheel in your pants?" Pirate replies "Arrr, it's driving me nuts!"

An oldie but a goodie! 

Have you had pets that were aware of other animals on TV? Both of my labs were oblivious (except for the doorbell sounds) but the pooch I looked after this weekend was riveted whenever somebody furry came on. Is there any explanation why some react and some do not?

My family pets were always blissfully indifferent to the existence of other animals, on TV or off. 

Do pirates love "artichokes" or find them redundant?

I think they love arrrtichoke haaaarrrts but they don't like having to peel the things. Then again, this is just ascribing my own preference to pirates, but with extra aarrrs. 

That's because using exacerbating for exasperating is JUST RONG. People are now saying "obtuse" when they mean "obscure" but that doesn't make it right. The two words have different meanings.

I always (erroneously) thought that the origin of "exacerbating" was that they had kicked things up a notch from confusing "aggravating" with "irritating," but it's clearly what you describe. 

when he or she turns to the right don't forget you turn to the left.

Or you can just eat your soup in silence. 

Obviously it could be a very good thing that young people are not drinking as much at a young age. My concern with all of it is the ongoing voluntary infantalization of folks. I agree the world is a scary place but deciding to "not grow up" seems like a poor reaction. Of course the details matter, if it means just remaining more open and full of joy then more power to everyone. But if it means ignoring the responsibilities you know have and not engaging in helping to fix society, then I have a problem.

That's a good way of looking at it! In general, I think that if people aren't learning how to shoe horses it may be because they are now driving automobiles, and you have to check before you decide that The Youth Are All Wrong. There are some things that we assume are part of adulthood that don't necessarily have to be -- home-cooked meals, say. A lot of what we take for granted is only what we're used to. Once, people sat around playing video games all day instead of providing for their family. Now, some people provide for their family by sitting around playing video games all day. What you have to do to fulfill your responsibilities can change, even when those responsibilities don't. But your point is well taken. 

My dog Paddy would always bark at animals on TV; particularly dogs and horses. He learned to recognize the "Dog Whisperer" theme song and would jump down from the couch as soon as he heard it, before a dog was even on the screen. He was responding to the pictures though, not just the sounds; he'd bark at dogs and horses even when the TV was muted. I eventually canceled my cable subscription.

The host and hostess are supposed to notice when things go awry and correct the situation. Dinner-party conversation used to be an art that was supposed to be learned by evertyone. Well, everyone who gave or attended dinner parties.

I was just reading an old out-of-print book about DC social gatherings and it was a fascinating art that is functionally extinct now. Whom to seat where, how to revive a dying conversation, a substance called "crab casserole." 

We watch CBS Sunday Morning each week (TLDR: We are old) and when they do the nature segment at the end of the show our current Crop o' Cats don't react at all. A previous pair of cats would go INSANE if there were birds and try to track them on the screen. I actually miss that behavior, it was fun to watch and reminded you how close to wild cats the house cat is.

Maybe they were trying to say exasperating? As to animals an TV my cat (now gone to the greater hunting ground) used to love watching Meerkat Manor a decade ago. I'm pretty sure she wondered if they tasted anything like bunny.

Oh please. Seneca, and Homer before him, complained about kids not growing up.



Casseroles became a dinner-party staple, to the horror of a better-off generation, because servants were hard to find and pay adequately so the hostess missed a lot of the party by having to organize all the food in courses.

That makes complete sense. What's the point of being a swanky hostess if you have to spend the whole time in the kitchen marshaling plates? 

One is awfully hopeful that this catches on, as Prince Charles would say

One rather is. 

Speaking of one, look at the time! I'm off, but feel free to say hi on twitter (@petridishes) or on the blog, where there will be some fresh posts shortly! ( 


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Alexandra Petri
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