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John Kelly's Washington

A Ticket for Trouble at Home

By John Kelly
Thursday, April 21, 2005; Page C10

That bloodcurdling scream you heard Monday afternoon was My Lovely Wife's reaction upon learning that my friend Steve had invited me to a Nationals game at RFK that night.

Of course, this is exactly what was supposed to be so great about having a team here in town. No, not eliciting a jealous scream from your spouse, but just nipping off in a spur-of-the-moment sort of way to take in a game.

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The problem is I was going to help hang pictures at my mother-in-law's new condo Monday night, the only night I was free to do that, especially since My Lovely Wife and I were supposed to go to a game ourselves last night. So I told Steve no.

But then the tickets for last night's game fell through, and I could postpone the picture-hanging two days, and suddenly Steve's mad, wonderful notion seemed doable. Poor Ruth couldn't come Monday because even if there were more than two tickets -- which there weren't -- she had to finish sewing an incredibly complex costume for the spring musical our daughters are in.

I felt her pain. Really I did.

We've heard a lot about how our new ballclub is going to bring families together, but I fear it may also tear them apart.

Right Guard?

Phil Frankenfeld of Washington has been following the efforts of the U.S. military to purchase the naming rights for RFK Stadium. He has a modest proposal: "Relief pitchers stop losses of games, correct?" Phil says. "Have the National Guard sponsor only the bullpen at RFK. It can be called the National Guard Stop Loss Bullpen."

The Army's stop loss policy, you'll recall, prevents soldiers from leaving the military while their service is still needed.

Words' Worth

Dolores Rothwell of Reston has a request: "Would you please add the word 'campus' to your list of ridiculous word use?" That would be the list that already includes such favorites as "luxury," "mission-critical," "system" and "solutions."

Writes Dolores: "I have seen office campuses, campus living for seniors, campus apartment complexes, etc." To her, "campus" should be reserved for the world of education -- a college campus, for example.

"So what goes with the sudden campus rampage?" Dolores asks.

I think it's due to the pleasant connotations that "campus" has: expanses of green, students studying under oak trees, undergrads tossing Frisbees. Developers no doubt feel that an office "campus" is better than an office "complex," and maybe even better than an office "park."

And etymologically speaking, "campus" is actually a pretty safe choice. In Latin it means simply a flat field.

What I want to know is what I have to do to call my house a "compound." I have a fence. I even have a shed. If I call the shed an "outbuilding," can I refer to my place as the "Kelly compound"?


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