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Transcript

John Kelly's Washington Live

John Kelly
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 11, 2005; 1:00 PM

John Kelly writes five times a week about the joys and annoyances of living in Washington. He aims to show readers the Washington (and Silver Spring, Alexandria, Manassas, Bowie ...) that they know and take them places they don't know. He wants to make them see familiar things in unfamiliar ways and unfamiliar things in familiar ways. ("We may occasionally end up seeing unfamiliar things in unfamiliar ways," John says, "but such are the risks of the job.") His columns take a cockeyed view of the place the rest of the planet knows as the Capital of the Free World but that we all call home. John rides the Metro for fun and once kidnapped an Irishman to see what made him tick.

Fridays at 1 p.m. ET John is online to chat about his columns and mull over anything that's on your mind. This week's columns:
Read (but Not All!) About It (Post, Feb. 11)
Metro's Promise -- We're All Still Waiting (Post, Feb. 10)
Progress Has Its Price (Post, Feb. 9)
Tough Lessons for New Team (Post, Feb. 8)
Answer Man: Close Air Support for 55 mph (Post, Feb. 7) Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.

Post columnist John Kelly (The Washington Post)


Wednesday's Sessions
World: Greece's second bailout, 11 ET
Food: Free Range on Food, 12 ET
Entertainment: Reliable Source Live, 12 ET
Style: 30 Lessons for Living, 12 ET
Weekly Schedule

___ Message Boards ___
Weigh in with your opinion on the latest news and analysis 24-hours a day.

Readers Are Talking About...

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John Kelly: Every man has his price, and I'm curious what mine is. Is it $250,000, the amount columnist Armstrong Williams received to promote No Child Left Behind?

I don't know what mine is because no one has even offered. I was thinking that maybe Doug Duncan might offer me a couple grand to start spreading rumors that he has an unnatural affection for wombats. Then he could have a press conference to refute those rumors, thereby getting much-needed publicity for his gubernatorial run. (I mean, is Martin O'Malley a shoe-in now or what? [And what's with the word "gubernatorial"?])

But no. My phone remains unrung. I even print my phone number in my column from time to time. I guess I'm just seen as too pure to sully myself in such a way.

So let me sully myself in this way: by participating in an online chat. A reminder about my columns this week: Monday was about those "Speed Limit Enforced by Aircraft" signs; Tuesday was about the luckless sports teams of Northwood High School; Wednesday was about Verizon pulling the plug on its voice dialing service; Thursday was excerpts from an old Metro brochure and my request for odd bits of data; and in today's column I offer instructions on how to read the paper.

I don't need to tell you how this chat works....

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Washington, D.C.: Dear John:

Your column today has to rank amongst the dumbest that I have ever seen. Lecturing those who already have the newspaper in their hands on how to read it is an act of massive condescension. A better solution to Post circulation woes would be for your colleagues who also moonlight on TV and radio (Kornheiser, Wilbon, Kurtz, Priest) to let viewers know what they miss when they don't read newspapers.

John Kelly: Only "among" the dumbest? What do I have to do to convince you that I'm a total moron? I knew that I was preaching to the choir, and I don't expect my column to be cut out and scotch-taped to television screens around the area. I was just having a bit of fun. I do think there's an exposure issue but much of our circulation problems have nothing to do with us. How do we give our busy readers 30 minutes' more time every morning?

I think Post people who appear on TV should speak in incomplete sentences: "Yes, Wolf, our commanders in the field have noticed that....for the rest of this sentence, please see today's Washington Post."

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Southern Maryland: Re: Political dirty tricks, specifically rumors about Martin O'Malley. Mayor O'Malley, the darlin' boy, is so attractive I'd be surprised if he wasn't having many affairs. He does lead an Irish band and spends many nights away from home sucking down 6-packs of brewski while singing in well-packed pubs. Who knows what he could have done in a drunken haze. It's a minus for Bobby Haircut if he knew about the dirty tricks and condoned them. Maybe we can dig up some dirt on Steffen and see how he likes it. He just looks like Sleaze personified.

We're lucky in that Maryland has had Governors with women problems in recent years, but slinging mud is not a good quality to have. These human interest stories keep us interested. Remember Gov. Mandel and Bootsie who wouldn't leave the Governor's Mansion when Marvin was snuggling Mrs. Dorsey? Or Parris marrying his assistant? Is it just my opinion or are politicians becoming more attractive? It always amazed me men like Wilbur Mills could come up with a hot tootsie now and then.

John Kelly: O'Malley has denied the rumors. His wife has denied the rumors. Ehrlich has denied the rumors AND he's fired Steffen. It seems like that's pretty much over as a topic of discussion, except in regards to how much political fallout there will be.

But you raise an interesting point about the attractiveness of politicians. I think maybe they have, not because of any evolution but because of the winnowing process caused by TV. We seem to not like looking at unattractive people any more. Do you think Abe Lincoln could be elected today, that gangly, mole-faced freak? Or that chipmunk Teddy Roosevelt? A male politician can't even wear anything other than a red or blue necktie without being accused of wombat-love. It's a shame really.

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Virginia: I got to Ballston this morning around 8, the same time I usually do, to find the platform packed to the gills with riders. They made an announcement that there was a backup at East Falls Church, and that a train was on its way. All right, these things happen. About five minutes later, a 6-car train pulls into the station (where there's now barely standing room on the platform, mind you) The train had all its lights on, and was COMPLETELY EMPTY and just ran RIGHT by! What is up with this? The Arlington stretch of the Orange Line is crowded enough when there's NOT a delay, why send an empty train through when there is one? A train finally pulled up behind it, but it was already full of irritated passengers from the Falls Church stations. Honestly.

John Kelly: I've never understood why that happens either. Maybe it couldn't close one of its doors or someone had thrown up on it or something. I don't think Metro would do it just to antagonize you. They have other ways to do that.

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Washington, D.C.: John....John...John.
Love your show, babe, I tune in every week, but your column today...would that be a column or an ad?

What prompted that please-love-the-Post plea?

Are the circulation numbers THAT far down?

John Kelly: You know, I make no apologies for liking The Washington Post. I liked it when I was just a reader and I like it now that I work here. And I think there's something wrong with people who don't read it. I also like liking the place I work, which I hope would be the case wherever I worked: Chuck E. Cheese, the Department of Justice, the Big & Tall Man Store.

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Anonymous: Re. Today's Column: Loved it! Very inviting. I'm one of those people who love to read online, but you really got me thinking. Especially the part about finding stories I wouldn't necessarily see otherwise.

John Kelly: There. If I can reach one single person, I will be satisfied.

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San Jose, Cal.: I asked Bob Levey this question before, and someone asked Marc Fisher yesterday, and no one will answer: what is going to happen if Woodward and Bernstein should pre-decease Deep Throat? Is the secret lost forever?

John Kelly: I think Woodward has Deep Throat's name written on the bottom of his stapler.

No, I don't know what would happen. Bradlee knows too, so that's three people who would have to kick it before DT buys the farm.

Hang on while I send Woodward a message on our internatl system....Oh , he appears not to be signed on.

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Bethesda, Md.: John, I have a question at pertains to your column on ATMs and languages. When I opened my account at my bank, they asked me every question under the sun....birth date, where did I work, blood type.....
But why don't they, when you request an ATM or check card, ask you what your preferred language is AND PROGRAM IT into the card so you don't have to answer that stupid question every time you use the ATM?
Is it that much of a programming problem?

John Kelly: That's a great idea. Any bank presidents monitoring this chat? And while they're at it, if they know your birthdate, they could add a horoscope with your receipt. Or a Chinese fortune.

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Anonymous, Va.: Well, thank goodness cooler heads seem to have prevailed in Richmond on the undies issue. But I did notice one eponym for Weingarten in this piece in today's WP -- In the next to last graph, the name of the CEO of the online underwear outfit is Marc Butlein!:
A Brief Matter of Style
John Kelly: That was a stupid bill, wasn't it? We should be able to handle odd but harmless fashion choices by just telling people, "You know you look ridiculous, don't you?"

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Wheaton, Md.: Another taxpayer-paid commercial featuring Gov. Ehrlich, this time for energy efficient homes. The guy who sees Ehrlich is awe-struck. I can imagine an aide suggesting the ad to Ehrlich, knowing Ehrlich will jump at the idea and perhaps reward the brown-noser with a pat on the head or better. I really can't imagine anyone, other than Ehrlich, thinking that this will actually increase interest in energy-efficient homes. More ego-stroking at taxpayer expense for a politician who expresses shock at any waste of taxpayer funds.

John Kelly: I had the same reaction to seeing that commercial. He was slammed for doing those tourism ads, which critics said were thinly veiled campaign ads. These ads didn't really tell me much about why I would want an energy efficient house. I wanted information, not the governor in my kitchen.

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Trenton, N.J.: My most embarrassing work moment is a cautionary tale that has served me well abut 40 years. So here goes.

My father was in the Navy. During high school and college summers, I worked at the Pentagon. One of my colleagues had one of those CSA license plates, w/the red-haired Confederate colonel holding the stars and bars, say, "Surrender? Hell!" I think she was from the deep south and took some good natured teasing (or maybe not so good natured; I was young and naive at the time).

Then my father was transferred to Norfolk and I got a job on the naval base there. My first day on the job, I walked into the payroll office, which fortunately was not my summer assignment, and saw the same license plate on the wall. Trying to make conversation, I asked, "Who's the rebel?" Everybody stared at me, hard, and one of them replied, "We ALL are."

As I slunk out of the room, I pledged to never again never to a similarly ill-advised comment. For the most part, I have kept this pledge. I think my life has been better because of it.

John Kelly: Ah, yes, when in Rome. I'm still soliciting embarrassing workplace stories. Send them to me, with "Job Indignity" in the subject line, at kellyj@washpost.com.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Deep Throat -- Weingarten claims he knows too.

John Kelly: Yeah, but Weingarten's probably gonna be the first to go.

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Laurel, Md.: For years I've been driving by a little store on Rt 1 in College Park called Memories of Finland. I've never actually been in it, but I've always wondered why on earth there's a Finnish gift shop in College Park. Is it owned by Finnish imigrants? Is it a cover for some kind of escort service? Does anyone know anything about this place?

John Kelly: I've seen it too and you've inspired me to head out there and report back. I know three things about the Finns: 1. They drink more than anyone. 2. They are world's best rally car drivers. 3. Er, that's it.

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Greenbelt, Md.: I think you aren't attuned to one of the big reasons that people don't subscribe to the Post. The carriers who can't get it delivered on time. We quit getting the Post when our carrier couldn't get it to us before 7 am. If it's not at my door before I leave for work, it's useless. We resubscribed now that delivery is by 6:15, but I'd sure like the Sunday paper to come before 9 am. Hassles with delivery are probably a huge subscription loss for the Post, as many of my co-workers have the same complaint.

John Kelly: Yes, problems with delivery is one of the main reasons people stop subscribing. And it's all related to changes we've all experienced. If traffic weren't so bad you wouldn't have to leave for work so early. If you didn't have to leave for work so early, we'd have a little more time to get you the paper.

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Metro's Media Relations Office: Hi. I just wanted to let your Ballston rider know that a train had to be off-loaded at the East Falls Church Metrorail station this morning due to a mechanical problem.

Indeed, the six-car train that you saw pass you by was the train being taken for repair. the interior lights should have been turned off.

Hope your ride home this evening isn't as crowded.

John Kelly: Thank you, Linda.

(That's a little joke. I saw that Metro's LISA Farbstein was misidentified in a story today.)

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Anonymous: Speaking of unfamiliar things...EEP. Lots of Camilla Parker Bowles cleavage on the .com. Why, for the love of all that is good, honest and pure, why?

John Kelly: Are you suggesting a bill that bans horsey British women from showing too much decolletage?

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Anonymous: Supposedly Woodward has a provision in his will for naming who it is should he predecease DT. The original Post article from earlier this week mentioned that.

John Kelly: Man, I knew I should read The Post. I hear it's a really great paper.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: As a fan of print newspapers, I really appreciated your column today. But you forgot one important thing: The home delivery bags are great for cleaning up after your dog!

John Kelly: I'm trying to teach my dog to clean up after himself, but the lack of opposable thumbs is proving to be a real problem. I used an Examiner bag today. It worked perfectly. Much better than the New York Times bag, which is wide and flat, not long and skinny like the Post and Examiner bags.

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College Park, Md.: In your column this morning, 02/11/05, you left out the most important part about reading the Wash. Post......the black ink that gets all over your hands and anything else the paper touches as you read it. Maybe this is why a lot of people have stopped buying the paper and read it online. I am considering the same. The first thing I have to do after reading the Post is to wash my hands and then clean anything else that got in the way. Why didn't you mention this is your column??? John Kelly: Well, that's not really a major selling point: "New! More black ink to stain all that you touch!" And in fact, the ink smears a lot less than it once did. We got new printing presses a while back and they do a much better job than the old ones. I just took a copy of today's Post and rubbed my hands all over it, like a cat at a scratching post, and they're still remarkably clean.

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Virginia: Please explain the Bobby Haircut nickname for the politician from Maryland.

John Kelly: It's the nickname Post columnist Marc Fisher bestowed upon the gubernor, alluding to his hair. I have read that Ehrlich doesn't like it, which is why Marc continues to use it. Hair appears to be the one thing about a person's personal appearance that you can make fun of these days. You couldn't, for example, say Bobby Clubfoot, or Bobby Goiter, or Bobby Acnescar. At least, I don't think you could.

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Herndon, Va.: Mr. K: Re your comments on Finns and drinking. Old story from a friend of mine. He was somewhere in the upper back woods around the Great Lakes, when a young black bear made the mistake of breaking into a house where a Finn had just returned from a night of drinking. Someone heard a rucus and called the police. By the time they got there, the loaded Finn, a carpenter, had belted the bear several times with his hammer and had the bear cowering in a corner trying to get away. The policeman was later quoted as saying he was tempted to use the tranquilizer gun on the Finn, but decided he was better off tranquilizing the bear and getting it out of harm's way.

No offense to your Finnish readers!!

John Kelly: No offense taken, I'm sure.

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Anonymous: If you used an ATM in California, you could pick Hmoob for your language choice.

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000505.html

John Kelly: What would be some other good choices for around here? "Politician"? Instead of "Make Withdrawal" it could be "Make Negative Revenue Enhancement."

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Silver Spring, Md.: Excellent article on how to read the paper today. However, you forgot to mention the proven- cancer-fighting power of reading the classical music reviews. Reading the classical reviews can also have a salutary effect on B.O., acne, jaundice, and cholera. And classical-review perusal as a nascent competitor for Cialis? Well, I've said too much already.

-"proven" means "I made it up for self-aggrandizement purposes"

John Kelly: This must be from one of our classical music reviewers.

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Silver Spring, Md.: One reason Post subscriptions might be down is poor customer service. My roommate and I ordered Sunday service a year or so ago but cancelled quickly because the paper only came once in a blue moon. We'd almost always get the advertisements, but hardly ever got the paper itself. We're big newspaper people, but there's no way I'm going to pay for the paper when it never gets delivered. If you did a survey of people who don't subscribe to the paper because of poor service vs. people who had great paper service but cancelled because they get the paper online for free you might find some surprising results.

John Kelly: Send me an e-mail with where you live and if you're interested I'm make sure a circulation person here is notified about the problems you had.

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Burke, Va.: I offer the following suggestion to Metro. Many have suggested that Metro post "Walk left, stand right" signs. Here is a variation they might be more comfortable posting:
"Stand with anybody that stands RIGHT. Stand with him while he is right and PART with him when he goes wrong."
-- Abraham Lincoln (no Abe is not posting this message; the quote is from him)

John Kelly: We know that Metro is monitoring this chat, so let's look for those signs this afternoon.

You know what else they could do: You know those yellow footprint marks on the escalator treads? They could continue those into the station and then up the walls and onto the ceiling. Didn't Abe do something like that? It's one of the things I remember from my childhood.

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Richmond, Va.: I was just thinking of ordering a subscription to the Post - and now I am! I don't normally read your article - I do turn to STYLE first - unless it is a Wednesday when I have to start with FOOD - but am usually out of time when I get to your page. I will now check back with you more often! Thanks!

John Kelly: Thank you very much. I suggest STARTING with column and then hitting the rest of the newspaper.

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Silver Spring, Md.: And Marc is haircut challenged.

John Kelly: Bobby Harelip, Bobby Elephantiasis, Bobby Microcephalic...

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Olney, Md.: A third thing about Finns is they have the wierdest sports: championship mosequito killing, longest time in a sauna,backwards races.

John Kelly: I guess there's not a lot to do in Finland, and you get strange ideas when you're drunk.

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Anonymous: Potato Girl here: I know everyone's just been holding their breath waiting to hear how my potato-cutting came out, and I'm sorry for the delay. (I wrote in asking about chopping up potatoes the night before a brunch.) I was feeding 50 people, not 300, and I ended up deciding to just get up earlier and chop the dang potatoes in the morning. It worked just fine.

John Kelly: "Get up early and chop the potatoes." Truly a motto for our times. If only more people would.

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McLean, Va.: What is your take on the whole James Gannon/Jim Guckert propaganda story?

John Kelly: I haven't thought it through entirely but my first reaction is, why would he use a pseudonym and why would the White House allow him to use a pseudonym? Usually it's only DJs on crappy rock radio stations who use pseudonyms, or the people who do the AM traffic reports.

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Washington, D.C.: If you have the flu, or think you have the flu, STAY HOME! If you are out and cough, COVER YOUR MOUTH. No one wants to be infected because you think you are too important to take the day off. And for those of us with compromised immune systems, the flu can be deadly.

This has been a public service announcement.

John Kelly: Good advice. I was visiting an office the other day that had been struck by the flu, and while the truly sick thankfully hadn't come in, the first thing I did when I got out of there was wash my hands.

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Anonymous: I know you meant to be cute, but doesn't Weingarten have Hepatitis C or some other possibly life-threatening disease? Saying he'll go first is a wee bit offensive under the circumstances....

John Kelly: Oh, he doesn't mind. Do you Gene? Gene? GENE!

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Woodbridge, Va.: I loved your column today. I recently started subscribing to the Post again after nearly a year of reading only on-line. The main reason why I now have the paper delivered to my door daily is that I really missed reading the comics at the kitchen table each morning at breakfast. I tried having my coffee and toast at in front of the computer, but the comics on-line are just not the same.

John Kelly: I realize that times change, progress moves forward and that Things Can't Stay the Same Forever. That was kind of the thrust of Wednesday's column. It may be that the newspaper eventually fades away. It will be sad for precisely the reason you state (among others): the newspaper allowed us to interact with information in a particular way, a way that worked for a certain time and place. The Web isn't "worse" than a newspaper, nor is it "better." It's different. We've gained a lot by it, and we'll lose a lot when/if newspapers fade away.

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Arlington, Va. : I'm amusing myself right now by toggling back and forth between your picture on this page and the picture of the "dating doctor" whose chat is running simultaneously. You: thoughtful, ingratiating, anxious, tousled. Him: smiley, earnest, close-cropped. Your jaws are the same size, but your head looks much taller and more oblong up top.

John Kelly: I guess there are worse ways to amuse yourself. I'll have to take a look at the love doctor later, as right now I AM DOING A CHAT!

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Olney, Md.: You mentioned in reading a paper to "peruse" at will. Peruse means to read thoroughly and carefully, did you mean to scan or browse?

John Kelly: "Peruse" is one of those words that means the opposite of itself. The 3rd definition in my dictionary is "to read in a casual or leisurely way." That's what I meant.

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Metro's Media Relations Office: Linda's my evil twin sister.

John Kelly: SHE'S the evil one?!?! Uh-oh.

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Hyattsville, Md.: Sadly Memories of Finland is just a memory -- the store has closed. It was a cool little store, owned by a man who was Finnish (or so he claimed). They sold Scandanavian designed housewares (place settings, vases), dolls, art work, t-shirts, traditional clothing, books, and even food. They were a great source for wooden spoons (okay, so I am a loser but wooden cooking spoons can be hard to find). It was a funky little place and now is no more. But just down the street is the Dinette Gallery -- who even uses that word any more??? Wonder how long it will be there?

John Kelly: Someone should open a store called Memories of Memories of Finland.

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Washington, D.C.: How in the world does the WP expect the WDC area economy to keep moving if they throw such wrenches into our worker bees' Friday schedules: so many fabulous WP online chats today (and a few too many scheduled for th 1 o'clock hour), I have no time to work!
-- Slackin' off in DC

John Kelly: It's Friday. What are you doing working anyway?

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Southern Maryland: Advantages to surfing the Post website instead of buying:

1. No ink stains on fingers.
2. No piles and piles of paper to haul to the curb, or the dump, to dispose.
3. I don't own a bird or a puppy. Those Sunday editions weight a ton.
4. You can participate in lunchtime chats with columnists and people think you're working through lunch. Get brownie points for that one.
5. No extra verbiage you don't want to read, like Sports, Classifieds, real estate, personals, legal notices. Just zoom in on what you want.
6. Does the Graham family really need my 35 cents? Don't they have enough already? Could they adopt me?
7. You can print the recipes you want from the Wednesday edition without having to find scissors to clip them.
8. When you're done, just turn exit the website. No newsprint to recycle.

John Kelly: Yeah, but, but....

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Fairfax County, Va.: I am astonished that the Post is not featuring on its "front page" of the site, what I consider to be the biggest news story of the day. Radio station WETA is changing its format to all-news with very few exceptions. To me, this is a major story that should be the topic of its own "Live Online" discussion.

Just for starters, this is happening within a few months of the death of the station's founder, which is obviously no coincidence. Someone needs to check her gravesite for seismic disturbances.

Why is the Post not wading into this battle?

John Kelly: It's on the front page of the Style section. The printed Style section.

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Washington, D.C.: I haven't yet read today's column, but I have been a loyal Post reader since I moved back to DC after college and started work a few years ago. I try to read it cover to cover (but not every single article) every day. BUT, yesterday as I was on the metro approaching the end of my paper, I discovered a Montgomery Extras! I live next to the mixing bowl! I need my weekly fix of local crime reports and health code violations, darn it! Do you know where I need to call or e-mail to file a complaint? It's obviously not my carrier's fault, he just gave me what he was given first.

John Kelly: Just send me an e-mail and tell me which Extra you want and where to mail it. I'll put on my latex gloves and slip one into an envelope for you.

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Arlington, Va.: Newspaper deliver: I live in Arlington, at the bottom of a hill on a dead-end street yet my WP carrier manages to deliver the paper before 6 am even during the worst weather year after year. The only problems I've ever had have been my fellow condo dwellers swiping my copy because they're too lazy to go to a box & buy one.

Just so you know that some WP carriers do a great job!

John Kelly: There's the solution for anyone who's having a problem getting the paper delivered: Move to Arlington.

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Alexandria, Va.: John,
It appears that "GannonGate" has opened up a can of worms regarding your fellow Post pundit, Howie Kurtz. Kurtz has made a spirited defense of Gannon/Guckert, claiming that the poor little fellow is a victim of evil left-wingers, out to destroy the integrity of his fellow journalist. Has Kurtz finally shed his pretext of impartiality and declared his undying loyalty to Bush and his Neo-Cons?
Many thanks!
Smirking in glee from Alexandria

John Kelly: No.

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Bethesda, Md.: Hey John. I just wanted to comment about today's story about reading the actual paper. I do NOT read the paper or subscribe to it. I read washingtonpost.com religiously however. I just do not have the time to sit down and read the paper. While I am at work and I have 5-10 min. I read a couple of stories, send in a chat comment etc. I think there are a LOT of people out there like me. I also feel that the post is providing a pretty good service, and for that I am willing to pay. I love having the post at my fingertips. These chats the reporters do are the best. I wish instead of complaining about subscriptions going down the Post would just charge a couple of bucks a month to read the post online. As part of that members should be able to forward articles to whoever they want, and those people should be able to read it for free. I know there are a lot of stories that I send to my folks in Little Rock, and cousins across the country. They should not have to pay to read just a story or 2.

John Kelly: Paying for online content is a tricky subject. You'd do it, but the vast majority wouldn't. They're accustomed to believing it's "free." I'll tell you this, though: I try only to buy gas from stations that don't charge you for air. There's an analogy there somewhere and in due time I might explore it.

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College park, Md.: Finding out about Memories of Finland couldn't be easier: http://www.memoriesoffinland.com/store.asp

John Kelly: Memories of Finland lives! Turun Sinappi for everyone!

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Germantown, Md.: Last time the chat refreshed for me, the ad above your picture had a giant infected toenail directly over your head. Cheers.

John Kelly: That reminds me of a funny story involving a giant infected toenail, but sadly it will have to wait for another day.

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Clifton, Va.: Back in mid 80's while working for the Department of the Navy I had to pull a younger colleague aside and have a little talk with him. The idiot an admiral's son who got his civilian job through his daddy liked to wear a Confederate belt buckle. Problem his first line supervisor was African American male and his second line supervisor was an African American Female. Spent 30 minutes explaining to this idiot why it wasn't a good idea. He finally got it.
He is now a special assistant to SECNAV and bigshot SESer and I am a GS14. Guess I am the idiot. He is still one of the dumbest human beings in a professional position with a college degree I have ever met.

John Kelly: The question is, does he still wear that belt buckle?

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Frederick, Md.: Virginia nixed the baggy-drawers law. I'm disappointed. I was going to go into the drawstring business!

John Kelly: And call yourself Frederick's of ... Frederick?

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Silver Spring, Md.: (Leaf Guy). I was sure God was going to drop a tree limb on my house last night in all that wind, but nope. Maybe He's gonna let me off the hook.

John Kelly: Oh you'll get yours. I have it on good authority that the order is:
Deep Throat
Bernstein
Weingarten
Leaf Guy
Woodward.

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Fairfax County, Va.: I am sure the WETA story IS on the front page of Style, but it is not on the front page of the Washingtonpost.com web site. (I'm one of those people who don't like inky fingers and piles of old newspapers.) Isn't this story of more local importance than "DC Visitors to Pocket Pricey Gift"?

John Kelly: Remember that The Web is seen all over the world and the editors there have to make display decisions based on that. The key story was kinda funny. And if you're interested in things that are locally important, you should be spending 35 cents a day to buy the paper.

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Takoma Park, Md.: I stopped subscribing because I could've built a suite of furniture out of the piled-up unread papers. But to my housebound mom the Post was a lifeline. She could do without TV but if the paper didn't show up, she suffered - at least partly because that was how she kept track of what day of the week it was.

John Kelly: That reminds me of how I used to tell time in college: I would turn on the TV then compare what was on to what the TV guide said.

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Laurel, Md.: A while ago you asked how people read their newspapers. I have a question for you. How are you supposed to recycle the Sunday paper? Can everything be recycled? Non-glossy stuff only? Should I put everything in the plastic comics pouch into the trash?

John Kelly: I'm pretty the whole thing can be recycled. If your neighborhood recycles magazines, then it can recycle everything in the plastic pack.

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Palm Bay, Fla.: Potatoes. You have to chop and soak them overnight if cooking for a dialysis patient. It removes the phosphates.

John Kelly: It's amazing the things you can learn during this chat.

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Germantown, Md.: RE: Cleaning up after the dog. I find that feeding my dog some non-inflated party balloons with each meal causes him to self-bag. It is easy AND colorful.

On a similar note, my wife's dog ate a box of her crayons when she was growing up. The non-toxic ones. The rest of the week he was pooping a rainbow. I hear Martha Stewart makes sure her dog's output always matches the colors of the season.

John Kelly: I'm sure this was meant for Weingarten's chat.

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Bethesda, Md: Dear John,
I'm being more proactive about giving to charity this year. I would like give a larger amount to your Send a Kid to Camp campaign by sending you a check now, and then one later on when you actually start plugging the cause in your column. Can you tell me where to send the donation?
Thanks!;

John Kelly: That's very nice of you. The address will change before the next campaign starts, so you can send a check to me here, made out to "Send a Kid to Camp." I'm at 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071.

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Alexandria, Va.: John, About today's column: If it was not published online, I would have no idea who you are or what your column was. I do not subscribe to the Post, I read it online at work. So thank you for not being like the NYT. Thanks for not charging us to read past stories. (And I hate the black ink that gets stuck to my fingers when i read a paper.) You rock.

John Kelly: Thank you. And now I roll.

Many thanks for all the posts today, about The Post and other sundry topics. I'm sorry I couldn't get to them all. Feel free to e-mail me with requests or questions (requestions?), at kellyj@washpost.com. Have a great weekend and I'll see you in the paper (oh, and online) on Monday.

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