ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Apr 24, 2018

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Happy Tuesday! 

How is everyone doing? Congratulations to the royals on the new addition, and to the random people who got photographed coming out of the hospital along with the royals and looked much more realistic! My horoscope says that I am going to accomplish a lot today and respond to emails in the afternoon and evening, so maybe today is going to be really something! 

Any recommendations? Food, books, activities? 

It seems to me that, for the third time, Duchess Catherine has had a baby and in less than 24 hours, was released from the hospital. I know that she is a special case, and has LOADS of help at home. The hospital wants to be rid of the disruptive commotion the Royals unintentionally bring. Still, it appears somewhat hasty to discharge them both so soon, even if they are in good health. Thoughts?

I share your assumptions about how much help she has and how disruptive her presence would be. Is it really only 24 hours? My general feeling is that I am sure they have the best advice and would not do anything rash, but I don't have much information. 

or comfort food?

I see your therapy peacock and raise you THIS cat backpack (which was actually glimpsed in the wild on 14th street recently by someone who texted me IMMEDIATELY; we originally thought the correct term for this would be a "podcat," but alas the creator chose unwisely)

I bought her some cat litter.

Good, it is important to accommodate the needs of your evolving cat. 

I am glad a theme seems to be emerging! 

Can you send her another one?

Oh man, watch this single tweet turn into years of me FedExing Katy Perry the Saturday paper. 

To show it who's boss.

I admire you. I am definitely not the boss of my electronics. I once spent almost six minutes brushing my teeth because I missed the little buzz that the electric toothbrush does to signal that you are done, and did not want to stop without the toothbrush's permission. I felt like I failed a very low-stakes Milgram experiment. 

I went back to sleep, and it was better in the morning.

I am glad we are both in a shared reality now where the clocks do not say that! 

I had a weird dream also where I gave birth to a human Facebook AI, but all the clocks were normal and correct. 


Late Sunday morning, I was pulling out of my driveway in north central Vermont with a car full of gear for a day of backcountry skiing, and a woman came jogging by in shorts and a t-shirt. It was warmish and sunny; she was wearing perfect attire for that activity, there, then. A short time later I found perfect conditions for spring skiing, just 20 miles away and less than 1,000 feet higher. I was comfortable in a down jacket, at least to start out and when I stopped for lunch. We need a word for this sort of transition season, when a short move can lead to widely different weather and appropriate clothing. (And when, in the same place, weather can go from ice storm to warm sunshine over a day or three.) Vermonters already refer to “stick season,” after fall foliage season and before winter snows, when deciduous trees are just bare sticks. I don't know of any word for this spring season, and “liminal” seems too generic. Suggestions?

I like "stick season" a lot.

"Bud season"? That sounds like a microbrew. 

I put on sunscreen and sat outdoors yesterday and it was SO GLORIOUS and then it suddenly turned chilly and I wound up wearing a down jacket and tights for the back half off the day, so I can confirm the mercurial nature of this weather. 

I'm going to sound like a Grumbly Grumbleson here, but why do non-British people care about the British royals?

I care about the British royals exactly the way I care about my friends' dating lives, which is to say that I want ABSOLUTELY EVERY DETAIL ABOUT THEM so that I can pick it over until kingdom come but am very happy in my present situation and would not like to change it. It's all the drama and stakes of Someone Else's Problem, as opposed to everything else these days which is Both Someone Else's Problem And Your Problem. 

I picked up my new glasses yesterday, and my first thought when they called me was: "I'll be able to see Infinity War more clearly!"

Oh man, I can't believe that's this week! We are going to assemble so much! We're going to make like IKEA purchasers!

But you should revert to your old glasses for when Han Solo comes out. 

Uh, anyone who keeps up with medical news these days is aware of the "drive-by birth" phenomenon, where hospitals kick new mothers out within 24 hours because insurance won't pay for more than one overnight. Maryland passed a law forbidding this, or rather mandating that a second night be paid for on the attending physician's say-so, and a study found two years later that insurance companies were routinely violating it.

Thank you for this update. 

I just read an article on this very topic--might have been in the Post but I can't recall--that says discharging new mothers the same day as a birth is not unusual in the U.K., provided there are no complications and the home environment is appropriate.

If there is anything more unrealistic than the royals, I'd like to know what it is.

Plastic succulents. 

No, those have fooled me before. 

Is this a simple timer, or does your toothbrush sense that, for instance, you had a bacon cheeseburger and cheesecake for dinner and so need twice as much time as when you've just had a salad?

Simple timer! My toothbrush is not any smarter than you can get at CVS for $19.99. 

My kitchen is noisy. The microwave, coffee pot, toaster oven, oven, dishwasher, and timer all beep with varying degrees of insistence. Now even the fridge we had to buy last month chimes if you leave the door open too long. It's too much!

The one great advance we have made in automotive technology is not the fact that every car now has a radio that will tell you what is playing and an in-dash GPS, but rather the fact that an open door no longer dings aggressively at you like some sort of monster. I am sorry to hear about your fridge. 

Live on Broadway, a two part play. Part One runs 2 hours, 40 minutes. Part Two, 2 hours, 35 minutes. Have a feeling some parents will feel like the real Cursed Child is in a very expensive seat next to them.

Ooh, you may have hit on something just now. What if the reason that we're so discordant a society is that we only have shared reality with some people and not with others?

There's some sci-fi or something to be made of a dream-based social network for people who are all asleep at the same time to access, like an RPG but a big time-saver because you don't use your awake-time for it. But maybe the story would end with everyone slowly unraveling because they never got any of the good deep sleep your brain needs to thrive. 

How come horoscopes aren't ever negative? "You will accomplish nothing, stay in bed until 2:00, then crawl through the refrigerator like a hungry raccoon."

On the one hand, it would be depressing to see that in the paper every day, but on the other hand it would be nice to have some cosmic cover for my life choices. 

I nominate "sprinter". Saw it online so I can't claim it.

That's not a season question, that's a location question, or perhaps an elevation question. This kind of thing happens all day every day in places like California.

Ha, "The word for what you're looking for is 'California'!"

But what about the rest of us?

I thought that in Vermont it was known as Mud Season, as the snow begins to melt during the warmer days and creating lots of mud.

Do you have any food, books or activities to recommend?

I'm not sure this is a recommendation yet, but I just saw the first episode of the Trojan War series on Netflix and I think it might be promising, or, if not great, at least enjoyable! Can anyone confirm/deny? 

has been going on for more than a month in the DC metro area, thanks to some pretty ferocious windstorms. We have been playing Pick-Up Sticks in our yard pretty constantly.

not just BOGO in the grocery store where you end up having to get two huge heads of cauliflower and can't figure out what to do with the other one. Sometimes event organizers will offer BOGO tickets and not just half price ones. I tend to do my geeky things alone. I have friends, but they tend to be paired off, have kids, have a dog or have graduate school or some combination of those. And the others are often just not in the right location. So I would love to do these things, but feel horribly excluded since everyone else gets to do them for half price, but I don't because I am going by myself. Yes, I would be paying the previously announced price, but it was like the gym teacher who was forbidden to punish the losing team in class so used to say, "Every one take a lap. Winners can go in." It was technically rewarding the winners, not punishing the losers, but no one trying to run around the track with only 10 minutes before we had to be sitting and ready to take notes in our next class was fooled for an instant. The losers were being punished.

You know what they say about cauliflower: TWO HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE!


I don't know, if it helps, I am ready to promise that the organizers of these events are just doing it because they want to get more people to attend their events, not because they want to penalize people who were going to come on their own. From a marketing perspective, it makes sense: as you say, it's like having a 50% discount, but only if people guarantee that they will buy two tickets, which is awesome from the organizer's perspective, less so from yours. But it puts the onus on the buyer to find another person in order to receive the discount. 

But I would try to look at this a cheerier way: you are still paying what they're paying to do the activity, and still getting the same benefit from it, without the hassle of having to bring another person in order to save money. Or you could look at this like ordering food at restaurants that give you too much food; you aren't paying to be forced to eat everything on the plate; you are paying to eat enough to satisfy you and then stop. You could get two tickets, but you only wanted one. I'm not sure this is entirely convincing yet, but I do know that there are some events I would be willing to pay a premium to attend by myself. 

Anyway, I don't think the organizers want to punish you, and you could always email and ask for the discount and see what they say! 

Or I guess there's always StubHub. 

I care about beautiful similes, not beautiful smiles.

The Real McCoy! 

I think we already call it April. It's the mercurial-ist month, mixing memory (winter's down jackets) with desire (summer's shorts)

I imagine everybody emulates someone. I dress like Indiana Jones, tweedy professor by day, fedoraed adventurer by night.

I dress like Anne Hathaway's character at the beginning of the movie before someone corrects her. 

Comfy or foolhardy?

What is "schussing"? 

The home environment could hardly be more "appropriate"; they probably have her OB-GYN living in for a week with nurses round the clock.

I supply all the smarts my toothbrush needs. But I don't have "smart" anything in my house. I'm a computer programmer and absolutely do not trust programmers to make sure those things are fail-safe and secure.

It won the Pulitzer, a first.

It's smarter than mine. I have an Oral-B one and It doesn't have a timer. It does have a removable brushing head so you can replace it with a new one when then brush gets old BUT I can't get it off the handle part so I'm still using the original brush part, years later. Sigh.

Oh no! You should get a strong friend and some pliers! I bet if you made a fun evening of it you could remove the recalcitrant brush head!

When it is cool enough in the morning to need a jacket but nice and warm in the afternoon. The next morning you need a second jacket because you left your other one at work.

My toothbrush does a little beep every 30 seconds and after two minutes shuts off entirely. I almost never make it all they way to the end because my mouth is frothing with toothpaste bubbles by the end.

"DON'T COME NEAR ME! THE TRANSFORMATION IS UPON ME!" is how I look whenever brushing my teeth and I strongly respond to your sentiment. 

We can all use the expression. "This has been a very Californian month."

and we could call the process by which other climates come to resemble California "Californication"! 

*shakes fist* "Demon Californication!" 

I got a Prius a couple years ago and I love it except it beeps inside the car when I'm in reverse, as if I wouldn't know I'm backing up otherwise. It doesn't beep outside the car in case some pedestrian can't hear me silently coming for them. It's baffling and annoying. It also freaks out if I get out of the car with my key while it's still running, but that's at least a useful reminder.

Wait, that sounds like a TERRIBLE feature! The first one, not the second one. 

Now I'm thinking of the scene in "Fawlty Towers" where Sybil is chatting pleasantly with the couple from California (he's American and she's British) and says to Basil that they can go up a mountain and go skiing in the morning and go swimming in the ocean in the afternoon. Basil grumbles, "Sounds exhausting."

I am not watching it. I know how it ends.

I wanna be friends with the chatter who wrote about BOGO tickets. My friends are also paired off, have kids or have a dog.


or it should be. Because, you know, when you buy one and get one, that's...normal, not a special of any kind.

This made me giggle audibly!

I ended up buying special pliers that look like calipers because of that damn Oral-B electric toothbrush. I can get the brush head off just fine but it took two of use ten minutes to get the bottom part off so I could change the batteries.

"This sounds like a recipe for a fun evening," she said, hoping that by saying it often enough she could will it into being true. 

I saw Jason Sudeikis on Off Camera with Sam Jones. I always follow up on movies, etc mentioned on that show and Kodachrome was on new on Netflix last weekend. I HIGHLY recommend this show!

My father passed away almost 6 years ago, leaving behind a perfectly functioning Sonicare with new replacement brush heads. I'd been advised NOT to use an electronic toothbrush by my dentist, who cautioned against gum erosion. So I gave it to my now-ex-boyfriend. Thanks for reminding me that my dead dad's toothbrush is in the mouth of the man who impregnated someone else. (not kidding that this is true but kidding that I'm upset/angry at the reminder)

Oh no! He sounds like a jerk and I hope his brush-head is impossible to remove and that his gums are receding as we speak. 

This happens to us every evening in certain seasons. Our finished basement is very cold but that's where we have the TV. We also have a wood-burning stove there. We go down in heavy sweaters, the stove warms us up and we take the sweaters off, and forget to bring them back upstairs until we run out of sweaters.

You've created a sweater sink! 

buddy can do the same? Just a warning, I am the triumphant aunt who took her niece to Hamilton, just got back from Ireland and a few other horrible humble brags on this chat which I justify because it isn't *really* a brag if you are anonymous.

BOGO buddies, if you're serious (no pressure, obviously!) send your emails to the chat and I'll email-connect you after I sign off! 

Boy, ya can't win. I was advised to use one by my dentist to stimulate my gums. I'm reminded of the recent satire article "Drinkers urge researchers to make up their bloody minds."


Harry Potter. Nasty stuff. You can lose your teeth, get infections, need surgery. All sorts of stuff.

And the dentists even tell you that replacing your gums is EXCRUCIATINGLY painful, and given the things they tell you "won't hurt at all" this leaves me shuddering and quaking with fear. 

The silliest feature I ever encountered was in a friend's Lexus. A soft but gradually louder bell began ringing when the turn signal had been left on after a turn had been completed. Because the turn-signal click had been silenced.

So, are you watching "Killing Eve"? If not, you should be - it's a hoot!

I am not, but I hear good things (from you, just now!) 

I'll add it to the list! 

And I will scuttle off (yes, back to scuttling, after that adventure) but see you on the blog ( and twitter (@petridishes)! Have a rad week!

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