ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Nov 21, 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 pre-Thanksgiving Tuesday chat, all! How's it hanging?

for let's doing this(!!!)

I am thankful for my health, my family and friends, and that I did not have to preface a question in this format at a White House press briefing. And for inflatable festive turkeys!w

I definitely have to go here:

Well, looks like we ALL need to go here. I bet they serve blue milk for the non-drinker!

I'm having trouble finding an answer to this on Google, and since I know this chat is tremendously popular with employees of metro, here goes: How deep underground is the L'Enfant plaza metro station? If I am standing on the lower level waiting for the silver line, how many feet above me is the street level?

Any Metro employees in the chat? 

Can you imagine listening to your favorite song, only once, at a concert?

Sheet music would become an absolute necessity! wwwwwwww

apologies for the w's they are the work of my keyboard ghost

Will court gravid females with a zigzag dance, though.

It's good to see we have all learned things from the news. 

A part of me wonders if gravid and gravy are at all etymologically related, but I think I  hope they aren't. 

We should have a party where we all show up with greasy hair and do a white elephant gift exchange and we all have to go home and wash our hair with the shampoo we get stuck with.

This seems like an even worse white elephant than usual. The elephant is white because it has dandruff. 

The hostess says we should be "casual, comfortable, festive." Is this an excuse to wear a bedazzled Snuggie?

This sounds like the best excuse to wear a bedazzled snuggie you are likely to get! I say go for it!

L'Enfant is not all that far below ground:

Is the deepest station in the DC Metro system

Too soon for FamJams.

There's the location for your shampoo meet-up! (I wonder if they have a drink called the Whootini?)

Ha! Yes, I hope so! Or the Utini, depending on your regional dialect! 

Everybody learned to sing, back then.

Much as I love reading essays from the past complaining about inconveniences that still make sense today, I love even more the complaints about bygone inconveniences that would never even remotely occur to you Robert Benchley's laments about the difficulty of being stuck in a car with people who want to sing songs the whole way is one such essay. It's both very funny and completely out of my realm of experience. 

it must be a welsh ghost, since in welsh "w" makes an "oo" sound. very spooky!

It's interesting to look back at this 1951 book of single panel cartoons called "The Office Party" to see what was once considered a-ok: ...personally, I think the demise of boozy office socializing can't come soon enough, unless it's truly completely voluntary and not pressured on anyone (is it ever?).

Oh man, the pictures of Mr. Trench pursuing his secretary are, well, SOMETHING. "MR. TRENCH'S WIFE DOESN'T UNDERSTAND HIM." Yeegh. Er, the artwork is really well-executed! 

I hear that taking an Xmas photo in matching jammies is this year's Xmas card. Also ghosts prefer sheet music.

How do the Petri's like their Thanksgiving cranberries? In sauce form or in jelly form?

Why not both? If someone has time and inclination, there is homemade cranberry chutney, but it is generally supplemented with one of those gelatinous masses that retains the shape of the can. 

That problem exists today, hence the existence of Quiet Cars on trains and subways.

And here I thought the Quiet Car was to get you out of the path of the Business Call That Was Apparently So Important The Whole Car Needed To Hear It!

This is my idea of He-ll. Years ago when I took long-distance bus tours with a local tour company, they made a habit of having group sing-songs n the way home. That's why I gave up on group turns. Things have changed, however, and no one sings. Thank Heaven.

I was about to say "I wish there were a middle ground" and then I remembered a friend recently went to something billed as "sea chanty singing for singles" and decided that any wish was liable to be misconstrued.

A Thurber cartoon that I saw when I was too young to understand it: woman seated on couch in apartment building lobby. Man, standing, says to her, "You stay here and I'll bring the etchings down."

HA! Aw, what a wholesome interaction! 

I remember reading that the best part about the introduction of radio is that it put an end to the amateur after-dinner soprano.

Thanks, radio! 

I also love that it apparently led to a panic of the people who made shoes being afraid that shoe leather would not see the same level of use that it had hitherto, and apparently it was suggested that people sit at home banging their shoes on a machine that would wear the leather down. 

In the Clark Gable film "It Happened One Night" there's a scene aboard a Greyhound bus where all the passengers are joining in a big singalong, and I had always wondered if that ever really happened! The only bus I've ever been on where a spontaneous singalong broke out was the mighty and hallowed Metrobus X2 during an evening rush hour once.

I feel like an idiot, but I'm not getting it. Can you explain it, please? (I know doing so will kill the humor, but still.)

 I believe a famous old-time line was "Want to come up and see my etchings?" It was an obvious cover story for other activities, I guess the 1920s' "Netflix and Chill"? Apparently she did not want to come up and see the etchings so he is bringing them down. 

I think Harrison Ford is sexier than Clark Gable, but Cary Grant beats them both.

What does the rest of the chat think? I agree, re: Clark Gable, whose breath I think was famously bad. 

It's B) keep traveling five seconds and then freezing on an instructor's face. Except it's not an instructor's face, there are college students acting out vignettes about research ethics. One of the researchers seemed pretty shifty. I was kind of hoping we'd have the same researchers throughout the training, so I could see if he was on the path to super-villiany.

Yes, I want all training vignettes to take place in a unified universe! It doesn't seem like too much to ask!

I'm guessing in Canada they don't have Black Tuesday after their Thanksgiving Day (which is on the Monday we have Columbus Day). Do they have a formal kickoff of the Christmas shopping season? I suppose they could combine it with the kickoff of the Grey Cup game (Canadian football championship) which normally is held on the last Sunday of November.

I can't imagine Canada having a day of wild shopping chaos on the scale of Black Friday, but that is because Canada's wonderful PR department has only given me positive stereotypes about them. They must have something, surely! 

I have to say --

do I have to? I suppose I don't have to say anything, actually. I was going to say something about how I didn't mind the encroachment of Christmas this year (though I am very behind on all my gifts, and I made the mistake of asking people what really thoughtful homemade thing they would like and now I am strapped into composing a song somehow) but -- I feel like this year if there were any pretense that we were waiting for thanksgiving to be over, it has been entirely abandoned. Except Black Friday. 

I swear I once read something J.K. Rowling wrote about being on a train in England in which everyone ending up singing "Hey Jude". I think it was part of some sort of tribute to the Beatles. But I've never been able to find it again by Googling. Can anyone out there confirm that she wrote such a thing? (Finding it would be even better.)

Can anyone?

Sometimes I worry that this chat is not going to solve all of the nation's problems, much less the world's.

I don't worry that: I know that! I hope our marketing has not misled you! 

Let's sing rounds! I'll start: Row, row, row your boat

Gently down the!

No, wait, sorry.

Row, row, row

you'd better start again, I apologize

I guess the days of high-school-band-bus (en route to "away" football games) with constant renditions of "99 bottles of beer on the wall" aren't a thing anymore? I feel so old.

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