Petri Dishes: Weeds Amazons Pizza

Sep 01, 2020

Humor columnist Alexandra Petri will be online every Tuesday at 11 a.m. Eastern for Petri Dishes, where she'll offer a lighter take on the news of the day. Chat now about on her columns and any other questions you might have. Catch up on the transcript of his latest chat below.

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

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Good morning, all! Happy Tuesday! I hope you are all holding up! Let’s converse! 

With Labor Day just around the corner, I can only assume we'll soon see radio stations switching to an "All Christmas music" format, right? That, and the first aisles stocked with lights, trees, and six-foot snowmen at Costco.

I worry that in my haste to evacuate 2020 I will go barreling into another year that turns out to be a fire in contrast to 2020’s frying pan, but still, I am tentatively for anything that might accelerate or seem to accelerate 2020’s departure. Bring on the Christmas music! Bring on the autumnal sights and sounds!

Last week's posts by fans of Amazon Women on the Moon piqued my curiosity--and the 1987 movie turned out to be hilarious in a different way than I expected. It's a series of sketches, kinda sorta recreating and satirizing what one would see on late-night programming on a local TV channel 8. Actors in the sketches include Carrie Fisher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Arsenio Hall, B.B. King, Steve Allen, and many more. Critics appreciated the "Son of the Invisible Man" sketch, in which said man is not as invisible as he thinks he is. I laughed uncontrollably at two near the end, one involving a teenage boy buying condoms for the first time, and another with a young man whose experience watching a personalized porn VHS tape goes wildly off course. Director John Landis also helmed Kentucky Fried Movie, which is a similar compilation of sketches and probably better known.

Carrie Fisher? I’m sold! 

I don’t know why I never noticed this before, but it recently occurred to me that this line doesn’t make any sense. I hate to correct Shakespeare, but the line should be “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Montague?” The problem isn’t that his name is Romeo. The problem is he’s a Montague. There is no house of Romeo.

I am sure the standard explanation is that the rest of his name is implied, but I agree. Romeo is not the part of his name that’s the problem! 

I bought a new brand -- new to me, at least -- of frozen pizza recently, and I made the pizza yesterday. It wasn't awful by any means, but it did not look or taste delicious, like the box made me think it would look and taste. Should I be annoyed at the frozen pizza company for misleading me, or annoyed at myself for being misled?

A frozen pizza cannot misle you without your consent. I think you should be irritated at both it and yourself, but mostly it because those boxes do a lot of heavy lifting. 

Will it be acceptable to wear white sweatpants after Labor Day?

Not only that, you do not even have to wear the white sweatpants to begin with! 

Bring on the autumnal WEATHER.

Up to a point! Think how much bleaker things will be when outdoors is not a place you can spend time enjoyably. Not that in a DC July, outdoors is a place you can spend time enjoyably either! But yes, a general concur.

When my narrow bed of Perennial Peanut ground cover died (long story), I planted new plugs. Weeds took over with a vengeance, and rabbits ate the peanut plugs. So, I decided to grow a weed garden since the weeds were actually pretty. Now all I have to do is occasionally weed out volunteer grass sprouts. Who knew well manicured weed gardens can look nice?! :)

Weeds are just plants with enough surplus will to live to withstand normal levels of gardening! I support this decision. 

it's not nearly as bad as Shakespeare giving Bohemia a seacoast.

Yes, that was the problem with Winter’s Tale. The sea coast.

Perhaps, but it still would be better to have her say Montague, then to have to explain why she doesn't.

And Montague fits the scan! But it loses a certain something in poetry for what it gains in clarity. 

I'm no expert, but I always thought she was essentially saying, "Why are you you?" In other words, why are you (the dude I like) YOU (the dude I'm not supposed to like)?

Maybe neither? Consider it part of your education or disillusionment, since food companies have been doing that since color photography and television came into being. Those steaming bowls of "chunky" Campbell's soups were photographed with all the meat & veg chunks propped up by marbles and the steam was a cigarette behind the bowl.

I learned something today! 

Things are pretty damn bleak around here in June, July, and August any more, what with the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes.

The trick with mosquitoes is to do what they used to advise you to do with bears: bring a more appetizing friend. The trouble is you never know which of you they will prefer. But it is one of those illusions of a system that can be kind of consoling! 

is simply a plant that grew in the wrong place.

October is the best weather month in DC. You can take a walk without being soaked in sweat in 5 minutes. Well, with global warming, I think we are headed toward November being the best one. Sorry, spring lovers. The pollen counts are too high in April.

If you Google the phrase "Best Frozen Pizza" you will get lots of results, but in most instances after tasting many pizzas, the honest reviewers will also say something like, "You might have been better off eating the box with sauce and cheese."

Mm, a cardboard box! This reminds me, it’s been too long since I had Domino’s. 

Have we talked previously about I tend to misread the word "misled," or do you and other people share this affliction?

I share it! 

In the spring, after years of struggle, I went to my local nursery and asked for "a perennial that thinks it's a weed and just refuses to die." A Die Hard Shrub, if you will. They recommended Black-eyed Susans.

Weeds are just plants that are growing where you don't want them- learned that from my sister the botanist. As for ground cover when my mother complained about weeds and also the wild strawberry plants in our backyard my father used to say "they're green aren't they?" After we kids had long flown the coup my parents came to a detente- my mother got the front yard and my father the backyard which eventually was half strawberries. We didn't have a home owners association to complain and besides the yard was surrounded by trees.

Where would one find "Amazon Women on the Moon" to stream?

Actually, there is no real definition of a weed. Sure you'll find one in a dictionary, but a weed is any plant you don't want growing. If you want it, it's not a weed.

(and doesn't everything now?). It's called a Native Plant Lawn. I had one long before it even had a name!

In John McPhee's wonderful book about Wimbledon tennis tournament, he profiles the head groundskeeper of that august club who calls any weeds that dare pop up "volunteers." And they are swiftly dispatched. Still recall the line, "There are no volunteers at Centre Court."

I love the term “volunteer” for weeds. A friend described something in her yard as a “volunteer tomato” and I was at first confused to hear that adjective modifying the tomato. It sounds very generous of the plant to volunteer! 

Unfortunately I am the most appetizing friend everyone has. I'm the one scratching desperately while everyone else asks, "What mosquitoes?"

Apologies for the chat delay — it was literally a chat delay, as the cat my husband and I are cat-sitting this week just made her voyage here and is now slowly and painstakingly exploring the house and meowing at everything, and I had to go around distributing familiar smells. 

It's hard to photograph steam and it doesn't last long. Neither does ice cream which is why the "ice cream" you see in photos is usually something else like mayonnaise.

Or mashed potatoes, I heard! Depending on the consistency you’re aiming for. 

I used to be a mosquito magnet - it seemed they could smell me from miles away and converge to bite me all over. In recent years, though, I rarely get bitten. I wonder if it's a different deodorant, or cologne, or shower soap. Or maybe they just don't like old man blood as much as young man blood.

Whatever it is, see if you can bottle it! 

A couple of years ago, I had some Queen Anne's Lace pop up in my garden patch, and it attracted lots of bees (who need all the help they can get). So the next year, I actually bought some Queen Anne's Lace seeds. None of them sprouted. Sigh.

I am sure there is a larger metaphor about the nature of volunteerism to be constructed from this interaction, but I am not sure what it is! 

OP here. I'm going to confess that I enjoy pretty much all pizza, even the stuff other people make fun of. Restaurant, chain restaurant, frozen -- it's almost all good to me. My standards are probably a little higher for restaurants than for frozen pizza, but I'd be quite happy if you told me that I'd be having Wiseguy or Pizza Hut or Domino's or California Pizza Kitchen or a frozen CPK pizza or a Totino's frozen pizza for lunch today. In fact, there is a not insignificant probability that today I will eat the other misleading-box frozen pizza I bought, even though I would rate it below every other pizza I just listed.

And not one weed joke...

In DC, you are allowed to own weeds but not purchase weeds. 

Apparently some purveyors of men's long sleeve shirts have decided that sleeve length should be measured from the top of your shoulder down to the lowest part of your wrist, with the arm straight and relaxed. Previously the measurement began in the center (or spine). But not all shirt manufacturers have adopted this practice, and it is damned confusing. Is a 36 sleeve the same as a 26.8?

Now I am picturing one of those long noodly car dealership windsock men trying to buy a shirt and being first disappointed then excited by the new numbers. 

from a neighbor's asparagus bed. It persists in growing right next to our concrete garage wall, which is apparently a habit with asparagus; it loves the lime in the concrete. Unfortunately it only gets edible one or two stalks at a time.

It had been an anxious two months. But the obstetrician told my wife that once she reached 36 weeks of pregnancy with the twins, she could safely visit friends. At that time our friend Mark invited us to his apartment for dinner and a movie, "Amazon Women on the Moon." It was the most my wife had laughed since the pregnancy had become dicey. Three days later she gave birth to a healthy girl and a healthy boy. They are 30 now. I owe it all to their wonderful mom and a very funny movie.

Wow! I never expected our endorsement of “Amazon Women on the Moon” would be so wholesome and heart-warming! I’m tempted to end the chat here! We have nowhere to go but downhill! 

I'd like to know what pizza rates below Totino's....

My problem with pizza is that if it is too good then I can't resist eating it and I burn the roof of my mouth until it is in shreds.

Oof, I resemble this remark.

And on that note, I’m off! The cat is wandering around her new environment meowing thoughtfully at each new sight she encounters and I want to make sure all the toilets are closed. Have a great week, stay safe, and see you on the blog and Twitter

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.
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