Not-baking, in an A. of C. - ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Apr 07, 2020

Humor columnist Alexandra Petri will be online every Tuesday at 11 a.m. Eastern for ComPost live, where she'll offer a lighter take on the news of the day. Submit your comments on her columns and any other questions you might have.

Read Alexandra Petri's columns or catch up on past ComPost chats.

Follow Alexandria Petri on Twitter here.

Hello, all! It’s Tuesday again! How are you holding up? 

Hi Alexandra! Long time lurker, first time commenter (commentator?). Are you trying any new hobbies during your extended home stay? I learned how to crochet and I started making a scarf. Trying old/regular hobbies and/or no hobbies is also great, to each their own!

I am continuing my lifelong hobby, nay, passion, of not-baking. I have recently not started a sourdough, and it seems to be not coming along very nicely! 

I did take up the accordion again, briefly, but then my husband nicely asked me to take it back down. 

I think Rip Van Winkle had the right idea. Where would you like to sleep for the next 20 years?

The Catskills don’t sound so bad. But honestly, my bed. 

Were you writing a serious article about Jared Kushner being so smart that we should be lucky he is in the WH? I recently read Kushner Inc. and that author had a different take on Jared,

No, I was not! That sounds like a good read!

Do you really believe in the nonsense you wrote about this snob? The whole country but you and few others is laughing at this idiot. Don't you realize you make a fuel out of yourself. The whole WH is a moppet show and embarrassment to our country!!!!!

As long as I am not a fossil fuel, I am happy to provide fodder. I like the term “moppet show” very much! 

Um, is this your first Petri chat?

I think this person is not alone! Lots of people in here who have strong opinions about the Kushner piece! 

How do you know the you have really hit the humor mark in your columns. I thought the one on Sports talk radio without the sports was sensational. Did you feel that way when you submitted it?

Aw, thank you! I had fun writing that one. My editor liked it and Drew is someone whose sense of humor I trust, so if I can successfully amuse him I always feel optimistic that people will like what I have written! 

Apparently voting is happening in Wisconsin today, though I haven't refreshed the page for a few minutes, so I can't be sure it's still happening. Say, how can voter suppression continue to happen and then go unpunished? Anyway, jokes hashtag jokes

It is happening. It seems incredible to me that you can say, “If more people vote, it will be bad for our candidate,” and instead of thinking, “we’d better get a new candidate,” decide that you’d better force people to choose between their safety and their franchise. But I don’t know why anything at this point seems incredible to me. 

I finally managed to clear the board with just two words again. Their words for yesterday were "abhors" and "slugfest." Mine were "barest" and "thoughtful." I like abhors a lot, but slugfest is just terrible. No one uses that in regular vocabulary. It is purely baseball jargon. Mine are more boring, but actual words that are used in a real person's vocabulary.

Somewhere a slug organizer sitting surrounded by reams and reams of unused posters for Slugfest 2020 with a large musical lineup of slow jams and many nice sandwiches is absolutely infuriated, and is beginning to slide slowly towards the keyboard on his mucus-y foot (is this correct?) but I agree with you. 

I've now ordered multiple beer making kits ... and the great thing is They Think I'm working ... as the Network Administrator I'm covered ... q.e.d

Ah but remember the old saying, the Network Administrator administers best who administers least! 

Some of my friends tell me that they are using this time to read long novels or write memoirs or binge long-form television. I find myself much too easily distracted for that, and so I putter on puzzles, stare at YouTube for 20 minutes or less, and gaze out at the moors. Which of these response types does your non-baking fit into?

Somehow all my usual procrastination strategies are failing me; all I want is something that is different every day on which progress can be made. I keep meaning to write a journal but instead I just wrote down five words I needed to look up and abandoned the notebook for weeks. 

this is a chat site?

Yes! I answer questions as fast/thoughtfully as I can for about an hour and a half, and hopefully a theme emerges! 

Any ideas for a hug substitute?

I am a proponent of bringing back the bow and curtsy, but my neighbors give me strange looks. 

If only I hat a cat to play in them...

So do I! Being a catless household with access to friends’ cats before was sustainable, but now I wish we had a committed animal of our own. 

I see you have never been in a senior management meeting.

the greatest pre-Easter dilemma was when you could legitimately start eating the Easter candy? (which I fear is going to be left sitting in large amounts in empty stores this year)

Although the Easter Bunny has been declared an essential employee by New Zealand’s PM! 

(nicely) that he and your laptop cannot share your lap at the same time?

Hiss politely? 

I've always been distracted easily at work -- that's one of the reasons I love this chat -- but it's worse now. Instead of focusing consistently on work, I just want to look at the news and see what people are saying about it. Why do I feel compelled so often to check what's happening in the world when what's happening is almost uniformly awful? Shouldn't I want to focus on something else entirely (like work)?

Or not work! One of the dozens upon dozens of awful things about this time, for those fortunate enough to be stuck at home, is the idea that suddenly you have More Time To Focus on Work. This for parents is just downright untrue, but even for the kidless it seems kind of Orwellian and unhealthy. Just because it is better than the news doesn’t make it good!

what is the name of the motion when one looks at another person, puts one's hand to the forehead, and then does a few circles with the hand toward the ground. I think this should become commonplace as well.

The “m’lady”?

Used to be they were a rare treat. Now there are so many of them, resident cats are scorning them as too commonplace to be trifled with.

What else are you considering not doing? I hope you don't not write another book in the future. I recently bought A Field Guide to Awkward Silences but I haven't read it yet because it's in quarantine.

Yes, keep it quarantined! My new book, Nothing Is Wrong and Here Is Why, is still making its steady way towards the presses. The title almost feels a bit too sunny, but if people want to escape from the non-routine horrors of today by reading about the routine horrors of mere weeks ago, it will be there, and the cover is snazzy. 

Ah you are deluded that your cat desires your lap. They just want your nice warm laptop. Get them their own laptop. Problem solved.

I do the NY Times mini crossword every morning while I drink my coffee. Today there was a clue "It gets wetter as it dries." The answer: a towel.

Whoa! The Sphinx is writing crosswords now!

for receiving: a weighted blanket, or a cat/dog/child who is willing to drape themselves over you as if they were a blanket (do you still use the plural verb if the "they" you're referring to is singular?)

This nice subjunctive dodges that pluralization question! He or she would take the same “were”! In general, I think they takes “are” and “were” even when singular but I am always excited to be wrong. 

Send the cat to me to play in my delivery boxes!

I think it would be fun, if my last name were Upshaw or Capshaw or something similar, to have the word "pshaw" right there in my last name, because "pshaw" is a fun word. But maybe I'm overrating it. Maybe it would only be worth an occasional muffled chuckle or half-smile. If anyone out there with one of those last names wants to chime in on this with his or her experience, I'm all ears.

All I know about what it would be like to have a name that included Pshaw is that my phone tries to correct it to “O’Shea”! 

Today I turned the cushion around, because I had flattened the one spot beyond the realm of cushioning. And they said I wasn't a self-starter.

We salute you! 

I've been teleworking for years- 3 days a week until I retired and switched to being a contractor and the last 3 years full time. When my husband retired I trained him to knock before entering my office so I had time to switch to my work screen. When my daughter became old enough to read what was on my screen she actually help keep me away from non-work things because she never knocked and I didn't want her to see me goofing off. On the other hand, since my job involves reading the medical literature she also walked in twice to full frontal male nudity-

I like that the work screen you had to keep switching back *to* was the one that contained frontal male nudity! What a twist! 

I hope we get so used to waving hello and goodbye on video calls that we can just do that in person now. I am loving the lack of unwanted physical contact! (I wouldn't mind some more wanted physical contact.)

The only extrafamilial physical contact I have now is with the breath of joggers :( :( :( 

I can't figure if some of the respondents on Kushner missed your irony completely or if they were trying to be ironic in response to your irony. Do you have a lot of angry readers who completely miss your irony and write nasty comments?

I am right now in the midst of several friendly email exchanges with people who wanted me to know that Jared Kushner was indeed as capable as I thought he wasn’t and furthermore that my face was bad! So I think it’s a mixture of people who did not think I was ironic and people who are mad that I was. 

Hey, that was the WISCONSIN Supreme Court that ruled the election must go on. Not the SCOTUS.

Yes, but SCOTUS also ruled on it! 

We had our grocery delivery yesterday and got FIVE BAGS of Easter Candy-- I'd picked multiple types, figuring they'd be out of something for sure. I also ordered multiple types of TP, but no luck on that front. And no peanut butter! :(

Eww. No. That is nasty. Do they mean it in a good way? I cleared the board on today's puzzle in three : quavers, scarf, flange. I'm feeling very impressed with myself. Putting the "s" on quaver just to get the second word to start with s instead of r (much better for eating up that c) is a bit of cheat, but flange was just inspired. And ate up all of the remaining letters.

Flange is inspired! Well done!

Now that many of us aren't commuting, we have more time each day to exercise. Hahahahahahaha but yeah, I need to make it part of a routine or something. Somehow.

I hate to exercise but I love to have exercised. I have been trying to get a half hour of some kind of Online Workout Video in every other day-ish when I find myself sort of staring off into space or want to procrastinate on something more important. Sometimes what you think will be a peaceful walk turns into a lot of frantic darting into the street, and that too is exercise in a sense?

Still not giving my apartment the long overdue thorough cleaning, dusting, etc. A two minute vacuuming of crumbs off the floor is about as far as I will go.

But you’re vacuuming! That’s something!

I thought this would be the kind of thing that you would appreciate. My friend told me that his workplace had voted to outlaw expressions in danger of overuse, such as "abundance of caution." I suggested that instead they should replace it with initialisms, as in "a. of c."

I like that! Use in a sentence, please? “AOC urged an a. of c.”

How long to cook a bunch of chicken breasts in a slow-cooker on low? Yes, I can internet search it, but no one is more reliable than Petri and whoever they are who send in comments.

48 hours if you want to be sure you don’t undercook it. If you want it to be edible, I have no idea. 

I find that really elevates my heart rate.

That reminds me: this would be a great time to drag out some Bertie and Jeeves.

It’s never a bad time! 

How Wodehousian! "Having heard this, I burned with shame and remorse. And if you want to know why I b'd with r & s..."

Start on high for an hour or so, then drain off the liquid and put them back on low for about 3-4 hours. Or better yet, use thighs so they stay moister longer.

Way back when I did semi-regularly exercise, a helpful thing was to remind myself that I essentially never regretted exercising, but very frequently regretted skipping it. Having said that, rest days are essential -- not that lack of rest days is a problem I am having these days.

I'd better set to High just to be extra safe.

That seems correct.

And on that note, I had better get back to not-baking, writing, and replying to the first son-in-law’s numerous defenders! I wish you all a safe week, a pleasant set of Spring Holidays for those who observe them, and bow to you from afar. And I’ll be on twitter and the blog

Thanks to someone from last week's chat who mentioned Jeeves and Wooster episodes are available on YouTube. That was just what I needed during 2am insomnia time!

P.G. Wodehouse wrote dialogue for many of his characters using those types of abbreviations. Which reminds me it would be a good use of my time to re-read my Wodehouse library. No bad mood can survive a few rounds with Bertie and Jeeves.

In This Chat
Alexandra Petri
Alexandra Petri is a Washington Post columnist offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences." She joined The Post as an intern in 2010, after graduating from Harvard College.
Recent Chats
  • Next: