ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Apr 23, 2019

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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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Connect on Twitter: @petridishes And catch up with the blog here!

Happy Tuesday, all! 

Thanks for your help.

A blank page saying weddings is all we have for lifestyle? Sounds right.

In your April 18th column, you drew a comparison of Russian interference to (I thought) a old fashioned pair of spectacles on a handle. And then I checked a dictionary and learned the difference between "lagniappe" and "lorgnette"

A lorgnette would be a fun lagniappe, but a lagniappe is not always a lorgnette!

Or we can just have a series of inquiries or something that is like this but somewhat less.

It’s still an accountability process!

Will you see Avengers: Endgame? How soon? How enthusiastic are you about it? Etc.?

I am actually pretty darn enthusiastic about it but haven’t bought a ticket yet! I’m going to see if I can make a showing on opening night.

Happy Shakespeare's Birthday to you, Alexandra! May all your sonnets pentamete gracefully in an iambic manner! Have you ever gone to the Folger's open house around Shakespeare's birthday? (Do they still do this? I haven't gone in several years.) I went a few times and it was a lot of fun.

Happy Shakespeare Birthday to you as well! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the south, and this room has wonderful exposure!

Now I'm remembering that silly letter to the Post (I think it was in the Saturday Free For All, a.k.a. the Get A Life Column), complaining about the chief movie critic using big words that required a dictionary, like "coruscating" and "shibboleth."

I always like to be forced to use my dictionary! It is sitting there gathering dust on the Ms.

Why would you?

Daphne, good to see you in the chat!

I have bits and pieces of every Camelot song stuck in my head, since that twitter thread this morning. (Well, I often do anyway.) Did you see that production at the Shakespeare Theatre last year? I thought it was pretty good.

Do you want to hear something truly frustrating? Not only did I wind up missing the production, but in my stead, my husband went, and absolutely hated the musical! I don’t know if it would have liked it or not, but he could not stand any aspect of it, even aspects that I would probably have been delighted by! And argh, Camelot never happens. 

waiter: are you expecting someone else? Me: yes, my 15yo daughter waiter: wow, you do not look old enough to have adaughter that age me: why thank you..... (enter 15 yo daughter) waiter: oooooh i thought you said 59 year old.... sigh could use a pick me up today....

Let’s lift this chatter aloft! To be fair, you emerged with a very funny story! 

I may go into a McDonalds for the first time in many years just to say this out loud.

It sounds like the name of a character in an old-time comic strip! Maybe a rival of Scrooge McDuck.

Sanders and Spicer failed to deliver all the facts, according to Mueller

They did, however, deliver all ternative facts.

Chats today are Alex, Amber and Dr. Andrea. The two Genes (Weingarten and Robinson) are no where to be seen. Did you ladies scare them off?

I spent most of Easter listening to someone explain CRISPR and I think that sort of targeted gene removal may be what has happened here.

this year they did it on April 14th. Which seems really wrong. I bet Shakespeare hated taxes.

My recollection is his birth and death days are both in April and that whichever day is not the one, is the other, but that could be highly erroneous. 

If someone (you?) wrote a play based on the Mueller report in the style of old Bill, would it be Tragedy, Comedy, or History? Since you've already produced the definitive book report on this tome, you are the playwright for the job.

Tragical comical historal pastoral, I think.

What's the over/under on the number of regular Games of Thrones characters (i.e. speaking lines in more than ten episode) who will die in this week's bloodbath? I've devised a deathpool style game to go with the episode. Name all the characters you think will die. The person with the highest net right (number who did die minus number who lived) wins the pool. It encourages you to name as many as possible but only the ones you feel really confident about. My entry: Brienne, Gendry, Gilly, Jorah Mormont, Beric, Eddison, Theon, Tormund.

I signed up for an online pool with no stakes but glory and perhaps overconfidently predicted that everyone would die but Tyrion, so of course he’s been making stupid choices right and left, and I am now extra upset when he does so. I think maybe I also said Sansa would survive? Your entry seems more reasonable.

You might want to check with Carolyn Hax to see if your marriage can be saved. Sounds like a dealbreaker to me.

He likes Les Mis! I cling to that!

This is the chatter who told my 15yo daughter to "think about raisins"the other day when she was bored.....

I want to be an evergreen. Doug Fir

It would be fun to get spruced up.

What? No, the great Mr. Robinson appears to be present.


They may have done it on the 14th because the 21st (the closest Sunday to his birthday) was also Easter this year and they may not have wanted to compete with that holiday.

takes me back to the halcyon days of the law-abiding Nixon administration, when a colleague invited me to a party where they were to have dramatic readings from The Pentagon Papers, which had just been published.

That sounds like quite a party! Were there themed hors d’oeuvres?

The common name honors David Douglas, a Scottish botanist and collector who first reported the extraordinary nature and potential of the species. The common name is misleading since it is not a true fir, i.e., not a member of the genus Abies. For this reason the name is often written as Douglas-fir (a name also used for the genus Pseudotsuga as a whole). The specific epithet menziesii is after Archibald Menzies, a Scottish physician and rival naturalist to David Douglas. Menzies first documented the tree on Vancouver Island in 1791. Colloquially, the species is also known simply as Doug fir or Douglas pine (although the latter common name may also refer to Pinus douglasiana). Other names for this tree have included Oregon pine, British Columbian pine, Puget Sound pine, Douglas spruce, false hemlock, red fir, or red pine (although again the latter may refer to a different tree species—Pinus resinosa). There is no truth, only truths. Beware false hemlock.

This is fascinating! I always wondered who put the Douglas in Douglas Fir. Thanks for the info!

What is the raison d'etre for that?

You can think about them for hours! In the sun, in a California, in association with Cain or Bran. There is no limit to raisin-based amusement! Well, come to think of it, I might have exhausted my store of raisin thoughts just now, but I am sure others have more?

...are only allowed to work at the Branch Office. They are kind of timid, but they do go out on a limb sometimes.

Their bark is worse than their bite, I hear. If they fall, they make a sound.

Visited a friend who lived on Capitol Hill during the Pentagon Papers period and his place was still adorned with leftover decorations from their party, which included little signs on the ficus saying, "Please speak clearly into the plant."

This is amazing! Now I want to have a Pentagon Papers-themed party in 2019, for the ficus joke alone.

Garrison Keillor did a brilliant sketch years ago on Broadway plays for such mixed marriages. "Cats! on a Hot Tin Roof," "King Lear and I," etc.

I think we’ve had that sketch recommended to us before! 

I can never keep thuja, tsuga, and taxus straight. It taxus my memory, if yew know what I mean.

Remember, pseudotsuga is not to be confused with Splenda.

are a deep-rooted problem.

Wood that they were!

only if you count the deviled eggs.

And did Menzies name it Douglas to spit his rival? How many other such taxonomic rivalries are out there?

I’ve never thought of this before, but it seems like a potentially underused advantage of being a taxonomer or explorer in these realms of naming would be not just naming things for yourself but naming particularly ugly or otherwise disappointing specimens for other rival scientists you disliked.  

I would be a hawthorn -- it's small and tightly-wound and prickly

I would be a cherry, because I live in DC, have strong opinions about George Washington, and out of town people only come to visit me once a year?

I heard an Englishwoman on the radio do a dramatic reading of Sheena Easton's "my baby takes the morning train". When she got to "he takes another...home again, to find me......waiting.........waiting" I almost wrecked my car.

I can’t tell if you almost wrecked the car because it was beautiful or because you hated it! But either works!

If you want to read a book about trees (and maybe about tree people, metaphorically), I highly recommend The Overstory by Richard Powers. Although, it did make me feel depressed about how poorly we have treated this planet, but it's a beautiful book in the meantime.

If your spouse suggests you attempt to obtain tickets for the first showing in December, consider a trial separation. Especially if he is humming "Memories" around the house.

I personally am excited to see Taylor Swift as a cat. I feel this is a role she has been preparing for all her life!

I have no memory of the Pentagon Papers at all. I do remember wishing my mother would stop looking at those boring people talking on TV all day. The one thing I remember is one guy saying that he used so many pay phones to make calls, he thought he needed a change making belt like the bus drivers had to make change for riders. And how many things that just don't exist anymore are there in that story?

At least the boring people talking on TV all day have not changed. 

I've often been told I've made an ash of myself.

I used to own a tickle-me-Elm.

You could be the name of a new stinkbug. Although I have dated a few cockroaches...

I bough to your superiority. Maybe if I spoke in a more authoritative timbre, I'd be taken more seriously.

I am just here to provide lumber support!

I think that I shall never see...

A chat as lovely as a tree!

Poetry— now that’s a good type of tree to turn into.

That person isn't even CLOSE to being the oldest person participating in this chat. I remember sitting on the couch with my mother as she watched the Army-McCarthy hearings on TV!

This is amazing! Can anyone beat that? 

Hey now, I loved watching the Watergate Hearings (back when the GOP like Howard Baker were patriots). And the simple country boy (with a Harvard Law degree) Sam Ervin waxed eloquent. Each day the soap opera was broadcast live and the Evil Villain Richard Nixon seemed destined for his comeuppance. It was riveting. Must see tv.

You may be one of the few to appreciate this but for years I always wondered why we still had Arthurs and Lances, and Percies but no Gueneveres...It's because Guenevere became Jennifer over time and we have tons of those. I found this out like last year. Am I the only one who didn't know that?

I think it makes more sense when you see the hideous earlier spelling, which is something like Gwenhyfar iirc. The F makes it immediately obvious in a way the V doesn’t! 

That was Watergate. Forgot to mention. Though maybe some people figured it out. We usually abandoned the TV in the early afternoon to go to grandma's house that was near the lake. Mom brought a little radio to keep listening while chatting with her mother and aunts.

This radio situation sounds idyllic. We should do a themed chat where people share stories of Living Through Political Scandals Or Other Seismic Events— I feel like the cross section would be fascinating! 

I crown today's ComPost as the most aboreal of all chats.

I’m glad you could crown us before we leave!

How about listening to the Lincoln-Douglas debates on radio?

Please, I listened to Henry Clay on a passenger pigeon. No, I’m not sure of the exact mechanics of that.

An example: "Blind creature that buries head in sand named after Donald Trump. The newly discovered creature is a caecilian and its naming rights were auctioned to raise money for the Rainforest Trust. The scientists who found the 10cm amphibian have agreed to use the name Dermophis donaldtrumpi when they officially publish the discovery in scientific literature. " It looks like a gray worm. Guess it hasn't used tanning lotion.

Well, I’m glad someone is on it, at least! Do the scientists have insights on how to remove the worm? 

watched the watergate hearings during a summer babysitting job. not only is this "stupid watergate" but where are the republicans who put country over party.

Always in the last place you would look, so uh I am going to guess the Senate. 

And on that note, I am going to make like a tree and depart. See you next week on the chat, on a Twitter in the interim (@Petridishes) and on the blog (!)

I was in college during Watergate. The summer of 1973 I worked evenings for the Postal Service sorting mail. The day Alexander Haig exploded with defense of Nixon I saw it live in the afternoon then on the repeat at night as our local public TV station replayed the days hearings every night at 11 pm. All my friends had day jobs so I watched a lot of the hearings.

AND! If you have not already chatted an unbearable amount, or know someone who hasn’t, I’m taking over the post Opinions twitter for a live WHCD-themed conversation tomorrow at noon!

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Alexandra Petri
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