ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Oct 24, 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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Happy Tuesday, all! Is last week's news cycle finally over? Or will we be trapped here below the lowest bar forever?

Also, how are you?

A possum, because they like to play dead.

I feel like the Grim Reaper's teenager might find this offensive somehow, but I like the way you think.

We focus on her because she leaves us money. For example, there could be a Toenail Fairy nightly picking up our clippings.

The unsung hero fairy is the toenail fairy, although... what a sinister collection. Not that the tooth fairy's collection isn't sinister, when you think about it.

They don't anymore.

Wait, hotels used to have dressers and those dressers used to have drawer paper? 

He wouldn't be scared of the whole bat mystique.

Then again, neither would Batman. Dracula may be able to transform into bats, but Joker *is* bats all the time. 

Alexandra, since I may be pressed for time, what will you be handing out to Trick or Treaters? Something healthy, mini-candy, apples, or will you spring for full size Snickers or Pay Days (in which case, what is your address?).

On average, I will be giving out ENORMOUS candy largesse to every household, like the tax plan. In practice, I am going to stay in and eat three to five enormous bags of candy corn all by myself. 

Which, by the way, is an EXCELLENT candy, and I hope the chat agrees. 

A top hat, a bandana, or something else?

My impulse was top hat, but I don't think I could make it look rock'n' roll. I would look like I'd been en route to a steampunk convention and had wandered onto the stage by mistake. 

Falling down in the shower is a real thing! I never knew that before. So, here was my dilemma. I wanted to signal social status a bit to the doctor (because it is a real thing that you get better treatment if you do that, as horrible as that is to contemplate). But I couldn't get anything like nice clothes on since I had hurt my elbow and knee and couldn't bend anything much. So, with my ratty shorts and cheap slip on shoes (couldn't bend knee enough to tie laces) I put on a Hamilton t-shirt. I think it worked. Nobody asked me if I was "safe at home" despite injuries that were completely consistent with being shoved down stairs. I'm really not sure how I feel about this.

I am so sorry you fell in the shower! Glad you're on the mend!

The question of "what single piece of clothing would you choose to send signals of status" is a fascinating one. But yeah, a Hamilton shirt is a good call. Trying to think of others. Maybe a New Yorker subscriber tote?

internet search it

Was it good? The people need a quick synopsis!

I feel sorry for them, but that's more chocolate for me.

I have tasted chocolate. I prefer candy corn! 

This morning, my husband asked if we could get small containers of Cadbury Roses to give to "any co-workers who give me a Christmas present." I think candy corn would be far more affordable.

Ah, but more polarizing, too. 

Just imagine the massive unregulated DNA database Big Tooth has built over generations. They surely are facing stockholder pressure to monetize it and the privacy implications are massive for yet another industry we have no choice to opt out of participating in. Contact your congresspeople.

something something YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TOOTH something

...teaches kids to sell body parts for money.

that ellipsis could have led to anything, but it led to the above. 

The clue was to draw Superman, but you couldn't draw any letters, so nobody got it.

"Well, actually, it's not a letter. It's a Kryptonian symbol."

The trick to looking rock'n'roll is to look significantly shabby elsewhere. Depending on what genre you're shooting for.

Given that the only style I know how to wear is the Power Clash, maybe rock is the career I've been missing. 

These things are relative and subjective and I don't remember, but there's more than one incarnation of this. Quasi-relatedly, I read an article a few years ago that praised the much maligned era of comics where anything could and did happen, including Jimmy Olsen going back to biblical times and ... I don't remember the details, but it was goofy as fheck.

There's always a wonderful phase when people know that their genre is unserious and just go bananas with it, and then it becomes Prestigious and you no longer have a mom who is a car or send Jimmy back to bible times. And then somewhere else has to make the ridiculous time travel stuff!

Fedora. No question about it. It would look very Carmen Sandiego. Plus top hats are too circus ringmaster.

Nooooo I don't want to have to keep telling people it's not a trilby. 

Alexandra, first, I agree with you: Candy Corn is EXCELLENT. And as for the person who wondered about her husband giving CC to co-workers, well, as Ebenezer Scrooge might have said, "And Candy Corn will be deeply discounted come November 1. That also means you have to make it through the following weeks without eating all that candy yourself!"

I like this image of Ebenezer Scrooge having strong opinions about candy corn discounts, but you have certainly nailed his priorities! 

Obviously, you'd just draw a speeding bullet, a locomotive, a tall building, and a phone booth - and if that didn't work, add a pair of black-framed glasses and a spit-curl on a forehead.

And next to the bullet and locomotive, a crocodile facing the wrong way! No, wait, the right way. A greater-than sign. How did you all learn to conceptualize those things in the days of your youth? 

are you a pebble star?


How about a stick figure lying down, arms outstretched, with a cape "flying" over a building?

If there is one thing we can say for sure about this chat, it is that we have the solutions your pictionary game was missing! 

I admit I was kind of looking forward to his campaign speeches which would just have to be completely bleeped out.

I was not. I am very proud that Kid Rock is not running. As Vann Newkirk joked on Twitter, this is the act of an Adult Rock. 

Alexandra, pretty sure that Elton John has already established that anything goes for rock attire. Everyone else is playing for Second Place:

Everything Elton John wears is terrific. 

"One of the very earliest Batman villains, in fact, was a vampire, The Monk, who debuted in 1939 (exactly one year before the Joker's debut)."

do you know those mixes of candy with shapes including pumpkins, etc., that seem to be made from a similar substance to candy corn but a little chewier? That stuff is the bomb. Alas, I used to be someone who'd scarf down an entire tray of Peeps in one go, but since reducing my sugar intake a few years ago, I don't have the capacity and it just doesn't taste so good. But I encourage candy-corn lovers to try the other similar candy (which has no name? and maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about)


Ha, so, I have been buying bags of this in order to try to cut down on my candy corn consumption: I don't actually like the pumpkins (it's too much for me) and so I go through picking out the pumpkins and the chocolate-tipped corns and sorting them into cups, and then I eat the candy corn. Now that I have to describe this to another human being it sounds like a warning sign, but it seemed like a great way of adding a sorting exercise and imposing some restraint on what otherwise would have been a candy corn free-for-all. And, hey, if someone wants two solo cups full of mellowcreme pumpkins, I have those. 

Didn't one of the gentlemen from Guns n Roses wear a top hat? Mr. Slash, I believe?

That's the one! But he rocked it. 

A fine candy -- by which I mean it's generally good, acceptable, etc., not great -- but one that you get sick of more quickly than other candies. Agree?

You're not wrong, which is why I think it's so key that it's a seasonal treat. If it were available year-round, even I wouldn't feel so positively towards it. 

So was he always Just Kidding Rock?



your taste buds might be skewed enough to enjoy candy corn. Yes, I am a partisan.

There's always a joker in every crowd.

Just draw a caterpillar, a cocoon, and a butterfly! 

Or a man-cockroach! Either way! 

The Tooth Fairy approves.

You can even just give one to the fairy in place of their sinister teeth tithe! 

I would put on spats. Sock garters work, too.

Or, hey, that top hat could work. 

I moved to a different large city in Texas and after doing research—selected a new cleaners who happens to be green. Although I recycle and love animals—I am old school about dry cleaning. More grandfathered-in, hazardous chemicals = cleaning like the fantastic cleaners I used in the ‘90s when lived in the Midwest. Turns out I was wrong. My green dry cleaner is amazing. They are pros at removing stains. So impressed. It can be done!

This is my favorite plug for a product ever. It doesn't state the name of the business and will probably only be read by people who will never come to where you are and need to use the service, so it really feels very pure in heart. I am glad you love this green dry cleaner and want to share that joy. Well done, green dry cleaner who shall forever remain nameless! 

Speaking of crazy and prestigious and rock'n'roll, the closing credits/song/video montage of Hot Tub Time Machine really makes that movie imho. Also, I am a big fan of BBC America's (or whoever's it is) Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, even if it's different from the source books.

I haven't watched DG's HDA yet! Glad to hear it's good. The end credits of Hot Tub Time Machine not only make the movie but some would go so far as to say that they are the best or only good part of that movie. 

If only we had had this conversation *BEFORE* last week's chat about washing, ironing, and folding the laundry...

"Something dry-clean-only, doesn't matter what."

My friend's five year old was very excited to show me her new tooth hole. Assured me she would show me the tooth itself, but it was at home. And proudly wiggled the next loose one at me. I told her congratulations on the assumption that when you are five, any indication of getting older/more grown up is a good thing. Is that right? It doesn't fall neatly into the "praise children for their hard work and dedication" rather than stuff they are born with philosophy, but I am just a family friend so I don't think my input is that important in terms of influence on her character.

I think congratulations are in order. She's hitting developmental milestones like a CHAMPION!!! 

than an apocalypse.

I'd rather have an erect history than a hysterectomy? 

Not only that, the chatter didn't even specify the city! I have this image of people with dirty clothes wandering around El Paso and saying to each other, "Maybe 700,000 people isn't 'large' enough?"

I don't want any more information about this dry cleaner! Please, do not tell me anything more. It is enough to know that they did their duty well. 

Why do we do this? I can think of two reasons, not mutually exclusive. Sentimental parents want those teeth and this is an easy way to get them. And kids might be a little scared to have bits of themselves falling out if we didn't make it a way to collect loot. Does anyone know if one or the other or something else entirely is the origin of the practice?

A friend of mine said that parents nowadays are told to keep teeth because of stem cells???? But that can't have been why they USED to keep them. 

I firmly believe that all parents are on the receiving end of secret memos of unknown origin. 


I believe alternative views deserve a fair hearing, but this alternative view is just the word "vomitrocious," which, like "liddle," is not a real word. 

Basically I'm wondering what movies I should watch at home by myself. Maybe there'll be a fine selection on the air. Or in the cable. Or. Satellite. Whatever. ... Spoooooky!

Nosferatu's pretty good... 

Pretty good story but <SPOILER ALERT!> Batman becomes a vampire in the end. For a more uplifting version, watch BILLY THE KID V. DRACULA. A real thing, I kid you not.

Well, this sounds like a wonderful addition to any Halloween in... 

Do we all go to these places assuming that at some point, whether soon or in the distant future, they're going to screw up and ruin or lose an article of clothing? Do we just factor that in as a cost of doing business? I use a place that has pretty poor-to-middling reviews online. But I've been going there for a few years, and have never had any problems. Is my time coming? And would I then be upset enough to write a bad review online (although I wouldn't do that, because I don't do that)?

I think human beings make mistakes and eventually any human being you're in a relationship with for a long enough period of time will make some mistake, be they a dry cleaner, a green dry cleaner, or a spouse. Maybe it will never happen! But it seems like you have the right attitude. 

Maybe it came from the National Dry Cleaner Association and was a plug for the entire industry. Although a chat whose chatterers fails to sort and fold their laundry is a sub-optimal placement for such PR.

I'd have to guess "vulture". With a carrion-eater for a pet and the Grim Reaper for a master, the pet food savings would be astronomical.

Try Death Bed. AKA Death Bed, the Bed that Eats. It's an entire movie of people lying down for a nap and getting eaten by a mattress.

It sounds HILARIOUS but also terrifying right before bedtime... 

We need a National Museum of Baby Teeth on the National Mall.

No, no we do not. Let's not have that. 

One of the best is from The Adventures of Buckeroo Banzai and Hollywood, note that I'm still waiting for the next adventure1

Who among us has or will not become a vampire in the end?

Well, that's true, but if we know in advance it lowers the stakes. 

I like to read about extremist political movements, or how our personal data is exposed on the internet, or about tax "reform." All of those are far more chilling than some silly story about zombies.

Ah, but those sort of scary stories stick with you and follow you everywhere you go. Whereas a good chilling tale just makes your heart pump faster for an evening and then leaves you full of adrenaline to go about the day... 

Once, as a youth probably still looking for a real job, I took my suit to the cleaners. I probably dropped the pants somewhere in the mall, but in any case I didn't have them when I got home. I haven't used a cleaners since then and I'm getting close to retirement. This is probably your fault somehow.

It probably is. I guess this is a nice counterbalance to the anonymous cleaner praise from the other chatter?

The secret to eating mellowcream pumpkins is to buy them the day they appear in the store (August) and eat them right away. They don't age well. But fresh from the factory, you can tell why they are called 'mellowcream'.

I've always been bummed it didn't become a series. Like, Larceny Lounger, Battery Bench, Robbery Rocking Chair.


Alexandra— Green dry cleaner OP here. I only sent after reading someone question the logic of green dry cleaning a few weeks ago. I loved the El Paso post. I’ve never lived

Hey! I did eventually fold and put away the laundry. It took a while, but I did it. Well, except for finalizing the pairing of the black trouser socks. I really need to go through all of them (including the clean ones) and sort out the one with small holes for tossing so I've left those in a pile to encourage a big sorting/tossing project.

That's the great thing about this chat. Like Law & Order, it's serialized, and even though each episode is mainly engaged in solving a larger mystery, you still learn a little bit more about the characters in it every week. 

The creepiest movie I ever saw was THE VANISHING. The original Dutch version, not the abominable Jeff Bridges/Keifer Sutherland/Sandra Bullock one. But not the "funnest" horror movie ever.

There's a suggestion, for what it's worth!

My folks always watch Arsenic and Old Lace at Halloween. In the weeks leading up to it, they watch the old Wolfman, Frankenstein, and Dracula. None of that Abbott and Costello stuff. My folks have standards. And at Christmas, they watch The Lion in Winter. Seriously.

That is a HILARIOUS but GREAT Christmas movie choice and I fully endorse it. 

While clearing out my widowed father's house following his death, I found a tiny manila envelope containing all of my baby teeth (I know they're mine, because I'm an only child). Although I have no rational use for them, I couldn't bear to throw them out, but have no idea what to do with them (no direct heirs). Suggestions?


What ever happened to Judge Pants Suit (who sued a DC dry cleaner's for millions?).

Oh man, I think he was sent to the cleaners. I hope. 

A fedora and a trilby look nothing alike.

Is not that they accidentally hit the submit button prematurely, but they really meant "I've never lived". Same, green dry cleaner OP. Same.

And on that note, unless we get any good tooth use suggestions, maybe we'd better wind up the chat. 


I'm on Twitter if you need me (@petridishes) and on the blog (! 

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