ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Nov 14, 2017

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Is this Monday ever going to end?

It's a very loooong Monday. People are telling me it's Tuesday but I no longer am 100% on the existence of objective reality so I'm choosing to believe it's Wednesday. 

Can you spare me a little?

I recently came up with a good conversation starter, but the cat got it. 

Any chance she goes in for a swim?

In all the excitement about porgs we never determined if they possess the penguin-like attribute of being able to swim like fish. I assume yes but they're awfully fluffy if this is true. 

Sessions is still in session? What if you live-tweeted here, and then late-tweeted it on that other place? Who would sue who? Or whom?

I have him on in the background and if he says anything particularly startling you will be the first to hear!! 

He can always borrow Grabthar's.

Borrow Grabthar's hammer? No! BUY GRABTHAR'S HAMMER!

No! I've got two meetings on Wednesday. Let's go with Saturday.

Works for me. We can move Wednesday to Thursday. 

"These scientists say you’ll probably never have heart-stopping sex". I'm gonna keep trying though.

"Raise your hand if you feel personally victimized by these so-called headline scientists." 



It's like grabbing a live wire.

One of the parties involved could be trying to commit a very friendly murder, I guess. 

is the movie we're referencing. One of my wishes in life is that we could be alerted to any references people are making that we didn't get. Like hyperlinks for the real world. (this is coming, btw, with the fancy glasses or contacts or implants, assuming the apocalypse isn't too bad)

Oh, one hundred percent! 

Then again, the trouble with having an identifier for References is that it would probably suggest another reference you could make to fit in and would eliminate the usefulness of Shared Base of Reference as a method of identifying potential friends with similar taste in things... 

"Oh, you meant THOSE Russians. Well, sure, NOW I remember."

It is amazing the things he had no recollection of until he read about them in the newspaper. I guess newspapers still have some use after all!

Best new character in the Marvel Universe....when do we get a Korg movie?


A couple of people I know via the interwebz don't like a movie as much as I do. Should I uninvited them from my commune which so far has not materialized and probably never will? But what if they offer to bring chips?

No, keep them in the commune, especially if it has not materialized. No point in excluding friends from a theoretical party! Especially potentially chip-bearing friends. 

Evidently it causes memory loss. Jeff Sessions can't remember who he meets with and what they discussed. Roy Moore can't remember what teenage girls he tried to um, get friendly with. Judicial nominee Brett Talley can't remember who he is married to and where she works.

That must be it. The water. 

"I don't recall" is one of those sentences you can also say like "I don't exercise." You could, if you wanted to, but you just don't make it a habit. 

Or maybe subscribers get a first look?

I am certain that before we drain this creative swamp (hmm didn't think through this metaphor) entirely dry, all of these things will happen. 

Then ask your doctor if they're healthy enough for sex. Then ask your doctor what time they get off work. Then...


It looks like everyone in the chat is riveted by the Sessions testimony and questions are thin on the ground, but maybe I can deputize everyone to help with my wedding planning. 

Surely there is some law against appointing people who are utterly unqualified? I can understand no law against evil, because that's too subjective. And the judges probably aren't qualified anyway.

The thing this administration has really brought home is that there are all kinds of fundamental tacit assumptions that it is easier not to state because usually people of good faith will intuit them but then there are the times when you're like, "oh, no, we should have spelled this out, I guess." It's like office photocopier policies. Once you do spell them out, they create weird tangles of rules about how to use the photocopier that hold everyone up, but if you don't, then one day people will assume that only the stated rules count, and the photocopier will be ruined forever. 

Do you have a date? I mean, when it is, not who you'll go with. I mean, as long as you have an idea who you'll leave with. I don't know how weddings work, tbh. But I'll continue giving advice. Jeans are good for any occasion.

They're something blue! I know that. 

I guess my broader question is "will anyone remember what anyone is wearing?" 

It's magical, after all. The good Doctor directed him to Tolkein's dwarves, in a cross-over movie.

I learned this week (or was reminded? it seems like something that has come up in the chat) about Tommy Westphall Theory of shared universes and now I'm wondering how far it spreads -- do we think it could infect Doctor Strange and Thor too? 

Huge thing at the National Cathedral and formal everything with 5000 guests? Little outdoor ceremony outside with guests dressed as storm troopers doing the arch with blasters followed by a barbeque? My sister-in-law did a great cake of the Millennium Falcon crashing into Endor for kids birthday parties a few years ago. She probably still has the molds for the white chocolate.

Oh man, I was trying to keep Star Wars elements to a minimum, but now that I know of the existence of these molds I am instantly ruing that decision.

This appears to be the fake one.


I knew this would happen! 

Are all your comments in capital letters a sign of excitement or a sign of your aggravation? I'm puzzled by all the capital letters....

I mean them as excitement, generally, or CARTOONISH ANGER AND SHOUTING! It varies by context? I love a good capital letter, and I am not sure that love is requited. 

The answer to the big question at the end is "I do", not "I don't recall". It's important to get this right.

I have relatives coming over and I decided I should try to make Thanksgiving dinner and now I'm worried that it's going to be a disaster because I'm not much of a cook. (I knew that before I invited them, too.) I don't know what I'm looking for here -- you can't help, obviously -- but that's my situation.

If you want to throwin the towel, I had a very tasty thanksgiving some years ago that was entirely purchased at whole foods, but you do need to plan that a little in advance... 

Otherwise, the New York Times last week had a whole section implying it was possible to cook a large thanksgiving meal in a single oven in a single day and the graphics were so optimistic that it looked almost feasible. Last Wednesday, I think...

We're going to need some hyperlinks. So... caffeine-infused sausage. This is not a euphemism. Oh god. I've learned nothing!


(am I using these right?)

I am SO on it! On our cake table, we had a picture of my parents cutting their cake at their wedding, and a picture of my husband's parents cutting their cake a their wedding. And it did not cost that much (just prints and frames!).

Ooh, I like this idea a lot! Especially since all the relevant folks will be at the wedding and still seem to like being married to one another! 

Do what daughter #2 did. We gave each daughter the same amount of money for a wedding. Daughter #1 had a big blow-out. Daughter #2 eloped and banked the money.

Hmm, we haven't sent out invitations yet, so Option 2 is I guess still on the table... 

is SOOOO DC. I mean really, really, really DC.

DC: Home of C-SPAN on the Radio and The Moscow Mueller drink special! 

That's why my office photocopies by hand. Sure, it's not very efficient. But now we have something to do in meetings.

No. That's why there are pictures.

My Little Pony is good, also.

Hey, there's no bad ideas in brainstorming, as my friend Jessica always says. 

Only up to a point. They'll notice if you do something bizarre like put different sizes and shapes of bridesmaids into matching dresses that don't suit any of them, in a color that doesn't suit any of them, so please try to remain sane. Also, do not fall for the strapless bridal gown.

I don't want to fall for it because I suspect that it will fall for me. 

Does anybody really know what thyme it is? Does anybody really care (about thyme)?

If so, I can't imagine why (we don't know)

I don't have time enough to -- 

hey, a reference! 

Get your flu shot. Especially if you are visiting elderly relatives or there are young babies in your family. Brought to you by a person who always gets a flu shot but managed to give both my parents some other virus during my dad's 70th birthday party. It was not fun listening to them suffer for the next two weeks on the phone.

Got mine! And maybe this is wishful psychosomatic thinking but I can feel it working. I usually get a roaring cold each winter and I keep feeling what are usually the symptoms that are a prelude to a larger flu onset, and then... nothing! It's like thinking you need to sneeze but on a grander scale. This cannot be accurate but the feeling is reassuring. 

I attended a wedding this year where the bride had shoes with a bride and a groom on the heels. The groom shoe was the painful one. Coincidence? I think not.

That serves her right for picking a heel for a groom. 

I mean I think all your bridesmaids should be named Jean.

Which occurs during Chanukah, I have a t-shirt with Han Solo holding a menorah and the caption "Putting the Han back in Hanukah."

I love this shirt every time I see it, and I do not see it often enough. 

It's my firm belief that no one will ever remember what anyone is wearing at any sort of occasion (unless it's something way outside the norm, like a swan dress). This is why you shouldn't care too much about outfits. Look nice, sure. But don't obsess about stuff that everyone else will have forgotten about by the next day -- if they ever noticed it in the first place.

I'm skunky lemon verbena hair woman, and wondered about sending you the skunky shampoo so you could live the dream, and then I wondered if the WaPo would treat it with radiation or whatever, and what would THAT do. Plus, it's weird to send a stranger shampoo (and conditioner!) as a wedding gift.


(those are Excited All Caps)

Maybe we should do some sort of big chat meet-up and Shampoo Hand-Off. It might be weird if it came in the mail, but if it happens in person, it will potentially be both weirder and slightly less weird? 

The wedding industrial complex would have you believe that everyone will remember what you are wearing for certain. I'm not completely convinced that anything other than the general shape and whether you have a wardrobe malfunction registers with anyone other than your fiancé and mother/grandmother/aunts/et.

I'm still assuming you will have some specific sort of advice you're looking for, and that you'll let us know what that is. So.. I guess that's advice #1.

That is also good advice. I guess I was sort of in the market for Vague Bromides About How It Will Probably All Work Out. 

Just saw a tweet about the Forbes "30 under 30" for media!

Thank you!! I am stoked!

I hope you haven't ordered the special matches yet -- you really need to consider what colors you want printed on the matchbook covers. I know, I know, the printer is going to TELL you that most people like the names and the date in silver on a heavy white stock, but really, it might be nicer to use the main color of the wedding for the printing, and the secondary color, in a nice pastel, as the background. And have you thought of what you'd like printed on the back? Maybe a nice verse out of Khalil Gibran, or maybe Byron. Hey, you could have a poetry shower! All the guests could bring their suggestions and then read them out, and everyone could vote on them, after you open that set of gifts!


You would probably like Kevin Hearn's Iron Druid novels, since they involve the crossing over of every single mythical pantheon. Roping in Coyote to help defeat Loki & Hel is part of the fun.

Oh, that sounds a little like Sandman, which I also tremendously enjoyed!

Have you got a troth yet?

I assume I can rope one in before the deadline. 

I'll send it to you. It does not look ANYTHING like a wedding cake, so it should help get rid of your regret. Though there were a bunch of future college students doing a "learn about NYC" exercise and they took a picture of it as the answer to "take a picture of a cool thing in Central Park" in a scavenger hunt. We didn't let them take pictures of the kids in their Jedi robes or using their pool noodle light sabers. This stuff was bound to end up on instagram/twitter/whatever.

I like how Sessions testified that he did not remember any meetings discussing Russians until reminded (there is that photo) and then he definitely remembered telling George Papadopoulos "Oh no, don't even think about connecting with Russia." Yeah, that's the story.

*Tommy Wiseau voice* What a story, Jeff!

Well, of course... she's going to go with her fiance, who will be her husband at the end of the ceremony... duh...

Ha! (I assumed that was the joke the OP was making too but I am excited by both renditions of it!)

Are we having a chat next week? Even if so, we should perhaps be talking about Thanksgiving more now. Because planning or something. Seasons eatings. Eating seasoning. And whatnot.

Ooh, that's true! We will be having a chat at the normal time! 

It seemed to imply (not directly state) that you could do things like prepare all the apples for an apple crisp in about 20 minutes. Peeling and slicing. I don't buy it. The scheme would be OK if you could have a sous chef who starts working 3 or 4 hours before you do.

I concur, but it seemed so cheery and hopeful!

beware of photo obsession. Did you see the letter to, was it Ask Amy or Dear Prudence, where a woman wrote in that she couldn't understand why her daughter had stopped speaking to her, merely because she (mom) had suggested that daughter's BFF, who limped from a genetic condition, should therefore be left out of the bridal party lest she spoil the pictures?

*shudders intensely*

*fails to stop shuddering*

the wedding in which she made my brother so enormously happy was that she had to give the venue a "theme" drink. So you could go to a bar with a great bartender and have him or her invent a drink for you and your fiancé based on your likes and dislikes. This would be a legitimate use of time that is considered wedding planning. Not the hard part, but it still may have to be done. Also, they put together a little booklet of the recipes they cooked for each other while dating as a gift for all the guests. Bit overachievement in my opinion, but I still use it. And it was really cheap compared to other stuff. And didn't have to be ordered way ahead of time. Kinkos did it in a few days once they had the original put together.

Aw man, those are both terrific and delightful surprises!

I pride myself on being an intellectual snob, but my guiltiest pleasure is this program on TLC. I suggest you start watching it. I am a middle-aged spinster who cares not a whit about clothes or fashion or parties, and I think I've seen every episode, some more than once.

I have seen some episodes! I am not sure I want to escape from planning by watching other people plan, but then again, I sometimes relax by watching "Veep," so never say never. 

a lot of what you write has punctuation and capitalisation which happily reminds me of don marquis and his archy and mehitabel books is this a thing

I love Don Marquis! I feel bad capitalizing him. 

an optimist is a guy

that has never had

much experience 


Make it a comical disaster so everyone will enjoy talking about it later.

This seems like the most in-character move... 

Nearly seven years after my wedding, I barely remember what I wore. Let alone anyone else's attire. I typically only remember wedding outfits if they're wildly inappropriate. Like, say, the wedding I was in where the groom's mom wore a long white dress. (The worst part? She sent the bride a photo of the dress, asked her what she thought, heard back that the bride didn't want anyone else in a long white gown, and then SHE WORE IT ANYWAY.)

Mine was, "It's not the wedding, it's the marriage." And "Vague Bromides" is the name of my "Simple Minds" cover band. (Trying to think of something funnier!)

My favorite source for overly optimistic recipes is Southern Living magazine. Every "easy weeknight" dinner involves thirty obscure ingredients and two pages of instructions.

Ack, I have to scuttle off,  but thank you all for a great chat! The advice was all very soothing and made me chuckle. 

See you next week, same bat time, same bat channel! And in the interim, on twitter (@petridishes) and the blog (

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Alexandra Petri
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