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John Kelly's Washington Live

John Kelly
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 21, 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:
Treating a Child, Healing a Family (Post, Jan. 21)
Grown but Not Forgotten (Post, Jan. 20)
The Most Caring of the Caregivers (Post, Jan. 19)
Beautiful People, Inside and Out (Post, Jan. 18)
Answer Man: Red Means Don't Go (Post, Jan. 17) 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

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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: For the first time in my life I experienced an inauguration yesterday. Jeanne McManus had a nice column a few days about Washingtonians who always watch the inaugural parade. I'm the other kind of Washingtonian: the one who couldn't care less. (Or, as is increasingly said, could care less.)

But yesterday after lunch at my desk, I said, What the hey. Once you got past the first barricades--Metro buses parked across streets--but before you got to the people thronging Pennsylvania Avenue, things were kind of cool. Everything had a post-apocalyptic sort of vibe. Few people on the steets. No cars. Newspapers blowing in the wind. I thought I'd stumbled into "The Omega Man" or a zombie movie. As for where I ended up and what I saw, I'll tell you as the chat proceeds. And what did YOU do yesterday?

Columns this week: Monday I revisited the Metro light subject, providing Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Warning Lights on Metro Cars (But Were Afraid to Ask). Tuesday was about the Andre Chreky Salon-a-Thon (people with scissors and no sleep!). Wednesday through Friday were stories about Children's Hospital, the campaign for which ends today.

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Rockville, Md.: Greetings John.
We're set to get socked with snow on a weekend, which kind of sucks for us adults who'd like an unscheduled day off from work and the kids who'd like a vacation day from school. So, do you have your bread, milk and toilet paper all stocked and ready for our two days of being held hostage by the weather? And what do you do when you're confined to the house with the kids? Any special activities you engage in that doesn't involve TV?

John Kelly: We haven't had cable since we moved and so our TV pickin's are slim. We don't even get all the broadcast stations very well. (Though we get a Spanish language station very well. Too bad I don't speak Spanish.) So I don't think we'll do much TV. One daughter is addicted to the computer, so I expect we'll have to pry her off. The other is smitten with her flute, and pulls it out every few hours to blow some trills. So between the clacking of the computer keyboard and the flute, I'll be crazy by Sunday morning. We all like to read, of course, so I'd better get to the library tomorrow morning. (What would you rather have: a book or toilet paper? Don't answer.) And there's always Scrabble. Of course, most Kelly family games end in bloodshed. We get very competitive, and she who messes up the Triple Word Score for the rest of us risks a quick punch to the kidneys.

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Del Ray, Va.: I find it fascinating but not surprising that Kerry was booed and jeered at the Capitol ceremony yesterday. Many of these same folks are no doubt today admonishing their fellow citizens to "get over it" and "unite behind our president" and "put aside partisanship".

John Kelly: There's aggravation and bitterness on both sides. I felt good when the protesters I was near applauded the American flag as it went by. I do believe they're sincere in their love of America and their desire that our country improve. But some of the signs and chants were just over the top. One chant was: "Hey Bush, you can't hide. We charge you with genocide." Genocide? Like the Holocaust? Like Rwanda? Bush might not be your cup of tea but I don't think he's setting up gas chambers.

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Washington, D.C.: OK, so I tried to attend the inauguration yesterday. Had my ticket to get in. Got there an hour and a half early. And didn't get in as they closed the gate at 12:10. One would wonder, knowing how many tickets they distributed and how long it takes to scan people, that security would take this into account and prepare correctly. Oh, and on an aside, I waited in line for another hour and a half to try and get into the parade, and ended up bailing as I wasn't even close.

John Kelly: The lines were shorter the further east I went. Clots of us kept heading toward the Capitol. To use another cheesy movie analogy, it was like that scene in "The Poseidon Adventure" when the two groups of survivors encounter one another, one moving toward the stern, the other toward the bow. Finally, at 3rd Street, I was able to get close to the action. The line through security--TSA folks frisking everyone; men in one line, women in another--was fast. It wasn't the best location, though. We were actually facing Constitution Avenue, a block off Pennsylvania. But it was where everyone who'd been at the Capitol passed. So Bush did go by at some point. Where I was were mostly protestors, who chanted and waved signs (funniest sign I saw: "Cheney Eats Bald Eagles for Breakfast"). There were a few Bush supporters. They formed "W's" with their thumbs and forefingers while the protesters formed...well, they didn't form W's. Some did peace signs.

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Anonymous: John--What can we do about Bus Drivers who constantly talk on cell phones? It has become positively outrageous. I was on a 90 bus the other night, the the driver was talking--right out loud, holding the phone in his left hand, and driving along--pulling to a stop, holding the phone all the time, reaching over to his left using his right hand, to open the door and close it, and move onward! This is pretty typical these days and getting a lot worse. and just above the drivers' head is that sign that says.."This bus needs my full attention!!" What a joke.

-- METROBUS: L2,90,92, other 90's

John Kelly: You should let Metro know. E-mail csvc@wmata.com. He shouldn't be on the phone at all, and he definitely shouldn't be doing it non-hands-free. Isn't that against the law in the District?

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Seaford, Del.: Hi, John. I read your chats after the fact and would like to contribute a couple more thoughts on the name theme from last week.

We had friends who unexpectredly named their firstborn Camden because he was born during the first game at the Orioles' ballpark. As you can imagine, they got a lot of teasing about his future sibs Fenway, Candlestick, and Arrowhead. They've since had 4 more kids, none of them named after a sporting arena, although one is named Darian after his mother's hometown.

Then, don't call your kids by different first names! It's a mess! My birth name was Janis Kaye. For years, my father spoke about his daugher, Janis, while my mom spoke about her daughter Kaye. I'm sure lots of people thought they had 2 kids. When I was 12, I announced that my name was Susan. Surprisingly, they both went along with it; and I had my name legally changed when I hit 21.

Finally, take a look at the most popular names lists before deciding on a name. My twin 4 year olds (Griffin and Dustin) have 3 Emmas and 2 Emilys in their 22 child preschool class. Neighbors trying to decide what to name a daughter a few years ago were amazed to discover that 2 of their thought-to-be unusual choices, Kelsey and Mickayla, were both on the 10 list that year. Unless your child is being named for one of your nearest and dearest, go somewhere else.

John Kelly: I know someone who supposedly named his daughter Paris because she was conceived there. Which is cute and all, but what if it had been Cleveland or Cedar Rapids? My Lovely Wife thinks the person who wrote in last week is in for trouble if she and her husband can't decide on a baby name. She thinks they need to be on the same page about this. Maybe we'll hear more today. (I still think John or Johna works....)

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Rosslyn, Va.: This morning getting on the Metro at Rosslyn, a very packed (as usual) orange line train pulled into the station. After about 5 people stepped off to let others off the train, the doors began to shut, those of us waiting patiently for our ride and those who had so politely stepped off the train tried to get on the train but were unsuccessful. One woman had her bag stuck in the doors, we had to pry the doors open so she could get her bag out; unfortunately the straps ended up breaking. This was completely unacceptable! How is it that people who are nice enough to get off the train so others can get out, can't get back on because the doors shut too fast and their personal belongings are damaged? I only hope the woman whose bag was broken due to the unattentive driver files a complaint and gets the value of her bag from metro.

John Kelly: Yikes. I wonder if you witnessed the same incident as our next poster:

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Arlington, Va.: Any chance Metro will run 8-car trains during rush hour more regularly? This past week was a complete fiasco with metro especially on the orange and blue lines! This morning I saw a woman almost lose her bag cuz it was stuck in our car cuz the conductor wouldn't let people back on the train! I'm just amazed no one got injured this past week due to Metro being overcrowded as usual.

John Kelly: I don't understand how this can happen, either. It bugs me when people--usually tourists, I've noticed--stick their hands in the doors as if they were in an elevator and the doors would just bounce open. But when commuters can't get on or off because the driver hasn't allowed enough time, that's another story. I had an experience on the Red Line last week where the doors in the last car weren't open as long as the doors on the rest of the train. They were open just long enough for people to get off, but not for people on the platform to get on. Since the other doors were open, we on the platform assumed they would open again. Nope. The other doors closed and then the train took off.

As for 8-car trains, Metro says the infrastructure isn't in place for it yet. They need more electricity, since the longer trains require more juice.

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Washington, D.C.: So did you attend any of the Inaugural "festivities"? Man, nothing says a Celebration of Freedom like locked down streets and sharpshooters on roofs. I peeked out my office window a few times to see what was happening, but kept getting nervous that the guys with guns on the rooftop across the street were sizing me up for a headshot.

John Kelly: The sharpshooters were weird. I was bothered by the black-clad agents atop the East Building of the National Gallery, scanning the crowd with these massive binoculars. And ironies did abound. But the security must have worked, since, as far as know, nothing happened, terroristical-wise.

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Adams Morgan, D.C.: I'm a free-speech, John-Kerry-voting, bleeding-heart liberal, but gadzooks do those protestors and self described anarchists drive me batty. Last night they got into a tangle with cops in Adams Morgan and apparently windows got broken, things were spray painted and newspaper boxes were tossed about. This in a town where 92% of the people they were disturbing with their behavior didn't vote for the person they were protesting against. Protest all you want down near the Capitol and White House, heck, you can even march through the streets if you want, but the minute you start destroying things in actual neighborhoods, well then I do hope you get your butt arrested.

John Kelly: Yeah, what happened to ringing the Pentagon with a human chain? Or throwing your blood on a Nike missile silo?

An observation I had: They need better chants. Like the signs, the chants are often too black and white, but it's probably hard to do a nuanced chant. It took me a while to understand some of the chants. There was one that went, "1, 2, 3, 4, We don't want your racist war! 5, 6, 7, 8, We don't..."

We don't what? I couldn't understand the last part. I thought at first it was "We don't buy your boss man hate," which I didn't understand at all. Turned out it was "we don't buy your false mandate."

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Montgomery County, Md.: As he entered a local restaurant for an inauguration party thrown by the gambling lindustry, Chief Justice Scalia told reporters (taped by NBC News) he had no idea who was paying for the lunch. Is he stupid or lying?

John Kelly: I hadn't seen this. I don't think he's stupid. Or lying. He probably didn't know. Not knowing--not asking--is a bit of protection. It's like Schultz in "Hogan's Heroes": "I know nussing!"

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Washington, D.C.: Why do I always have to visit "John Kelly's Washington"? We're friends, aren't we? Why doesn't John Kelly ever vist my Washington? Is it your allergies?

John Kelly: Long-time readers of my column know that "John Kelly's Washington" wasn't my first choice for a name. It wasn't even my second. I wanted "John Kelly's Atkins-Friendly Column." Or "John Kelly's Old-Fashioned Steam-Powered Omnibus." I was overruled. But, please, my city is your city. As long as you bus your own table, your free to visit whenever you like. And your city? Yes, I'd like to visit it too.

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Washington, D.C.: Re: Security.
But the security yesterday was not for the terrorists or bin Laden. It was for us. It was to keep the crowd and parade route as dissent-free as possible. Yes, the election was divisive; yes, emotions run high on both sides. But don't buy into the administration-fostered notion that the fences, the tickets, the checkpoints, the swat teams, the sharpshooters, the riot police were to protect us from a terrorist attack. All of that was to protect us from excercising our First Amendment rights. I thought the whole thing was disturbing to say the least (and notice how once the election was over and the inauguration imminent, the threat "chatter" seems to have died down). And let's not get started about the administration shafting the city on all those related costs .... shameful.

John Kelly: Yes, the $12 million-plus security bill is shameful. And I misspoke last week when I said the Feds had backed off on that. What they did was tell DC it was okay for the city to spends its homeland security money on the tab, a robbing of Peter to pay Paul. These politicians love to hate DC and it's just pathetic.

I wonder whether they should have had the inaugural parade at all. I mean, either have it the way it was intended to be--open, no lines, no body searches--or just don't have it. Don't try to have something that is a freakish version of something this country used to enjoy.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Dear John,

Did you hear about the father who is taking a school to court for giving summer homework? It apparently caused undue stress on his little darling. What do you say about summer homework? On the one hand, I think it's normal to want to have kids unwind and work at their summer jobs, do swim team and what not, but on the other hand I think it's also important to do something cerebral when not in school. Keeps the wheels well greased. I'm for summer reading lists and the like. What say you?

John Kelly: Summer homework doesn't bother me. Of course, I'm not in school anymore. Did we get it when we were kids? All I remember is catching tadpoles and painting fences and chasing Becky Thatcher. No, wait, that was Tom Sawyer, not me. Summer homework isn't that much of a hardship and I think schools shouldn't be taken to court for giving it out. Anything that helps teach a kid not to procrastinate I'm all for. (I've been meaning to teach my kids that lesson but just haven't gotten around to it.) What does bother me is that, according to my kids, the teachers don't even check the summer homework packets. It's not graded, it's barely even looked at by the teachers. That makes it seem like busywork and I don't think that's a good idea.

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Anonymous: Doors, Closing: When I first moved here in 1999, there used to be signs in all Metro stations warning riders that the doors don't operate like elevator doors. I think the signs were up for a year or so, then one day they were all gone. Since this is such a problem, especially with tourists, I wonder why Metro doesn't put those signs back up?

John Kelly: That's a good idea. It would fit right in with the new public information posters Metro has. They're kind of snarky. The one about not talking too loudly on your cell phone says something like "Oh yes, we're all so very interested in what you're having for dinner."

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Silver Spring, Md.: How different yesterday could have been. Let's say that, back in 2000, the man who most people voted for had won (a principle we're supposedly pushing in Iraq; remember, the controversy in Florida was over who would win that state's electoral votes-- who got the most popular votes nationwide was never in question). Yesterday would have been Gore's second inauguration, or the first inauguration of his 2004 Republican challenger (conceivably Dubya on his second try, or another party member, perhaps John McCain).

John Kelly: Speaking of McCain, he walked right past me yesterday. He must have been further up, closer to Pennsylvania Avenue. There was a little commotion and the crowd started to push toward me and then this guy who looked EXACTLY LIKE JOHN MCCAIN walked by, with a group of three or four people. He said, "I think we can get out this way." Then a protester said, "You're a brave man, Mr. McCain." It's always weird seeing a celebrity in the flesh, like seeing a raccoon in your yard or something.

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Anonymous: What was up with Peter Jennings during the inauguration parade? He made quite a few snarky comments about the parade, especially the bands. He said things like, "I don't know if it's the noise or what, but we haven't heard one good band yet" and then when the first military (Air Force?) band marched passed the president, he said, "Finally! A good band at last!" What gives? These bands were mostly high school and college kids. They may not be professionals but at least they were out there, trying their best.
--Cubeland

John Kelly: And trying their best with freezing instruments. I didn't see Peter Jennings, so I can't comment on what he said. I was captivated by what I later learned were the Mobile (Ala.) Azalea Trail Maids, several dozen young women in pastel-colored hoop skirts and big matching floppy hats. You could their crinoline go swish-swish as they walked by. I don't know what they DO, exactly. They don't dance or play music. They just walk around in skirts. When I described them to my daughters, they both went "Cool!"

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Washington. D.C.: Re. Weather-related confinement: You don't have cable? Or satellite? I hear Comcast, Cox, Direct TV, Dish Network and a few other telecommunications companies are now, as we speak, hunting you down. Certainly they can't have someone out here without a huge monthly bill, poor service and bad reception. (actually sat TV is pretty good reception-wise, just pricey.)

Enter my friend...enter the 21st century.....and bring your family with you.

John Kelly: I've burned my bridges with Comcast. Never again. So, it's down to satellite. Now the question is: DirecTV or Dish Network? I wish they had kiosks side by side at the mall so I could compare them. Any suggestions? I'd like to get SpeedVision, because I like watching the occasional sports car race. Is that part of the basic deal?

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Anonymous: Re: Baby names. I once met a man named Otis, who claimed he got the name because he was conceived on an elevator. (Or was it an escalator? It's been so long now)...

John Kelly: I believe it is physically impossible to be conceived on an escalator.

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Washington, D.C.: Can we outsource Metro? It should have been better prepared for all of the tourists that were showing up prior to Thursday. Rush hour was simply horrendous this week and this morning wasn't any better!

John Kelly: I didn't experience any Metro problems this week, though I may have been riding at off-peak times. And I would forgive Metro stumbling when dealing with the occasional big event, if its day-in day-out performance was better. I did just receive a news release from Metro congratulating itself on how it handled things this week. They had snow. They had a staggered release of Federal workers. They had the inaugural events. They had an Amtrak derailment at Union Station. They had road closures that rerouted Metrobuses. "Metro had no significant service disruptions," the release says. Then it says this: "The only unusual incident in the rail system was caused by some leaves that had come to rest on the electrified third rail, causing smoke in a tunnel near the Pentagon station. Trains were single-tracked around the incident."

Those darn trees!

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washingtonpost.com: http://www.washingtonpost.com/childrenshospitalJohn Kelly: Okay everybody, I wanna hear those credit cards being pulled from those wallets. Today's the last day of our Children's Hospital campaign and we are THIS close to meeting our goal of $600,000. We only need like $50,000 to get there. If five of you give $10K each, we're there. I'll settle for less.

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Boston, Mass.: Re Names, and reusing family names:

Back in the 1950s (yes, I remember them) one Thanksgiving dinner that included me, my brother, our parents, grandparents, assorted uncles, aunts and cousins, consisted of five Georges, two Charles, three Mary Katherines, two Katherine Marys, a couple of Anns (maybe an Anne), one Theresa, and one Thomas (me).

John Kelly: It's amazing they let you join them, with that weird, non-standard name of yours. One of my older daughters numbers among her friends an Anna, an Annie and a Hannah. I never know who she's talking about.

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Silver Spring, Md.: For the Montgomery County poster regarding Supreme Court Justice Scalia: He's not the Chief Justice...yet.

John Kelly: Noted.

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Reston, Va.: RE: Protest Chants
John,
I used to work directly next to the Massachusetts state house and protest season was always annoying and hilarious. There were usually long choruses lead by a person on a bullhorn of:
What do we want?
(unintelligible dull roar)
When do we want it?
NOW.

It drove me batty but I always thought it was hilarious that you could never understand what it was that they wanted.

John Kelly: At least you knew that whatever they wanted--peace? cheese?--they wanted it NOW! I know an activist in Somerville, Mass., who said that protest chants are really hard to do well. And many protesters eschew the whole leader-follower thing and are bashful about leading a chant.

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Anonymous: No Metro Problems?: They ran a SATURDAY schedule on Inauguration Day! My coworker's husband got on a Ballston at 7:30 am on Thurs. He said they had to shut the elevators off because the line of people backed all the way up to them.

My wife tried to get on her bus at the King St Metro and the line was so long she was sure there would be no room left for her. So she went against the grain, metro'ed to my work, and we enjoyed each others company on our 1.5 hour ride home (normally 25 mins).

John Kelly: I'm just telling you what they told me. They also told me:
"As the primary mode of transportation in and around DC for the past few days, Metro came through when the area's roadways often could not.

"Metro's performance during the Inauguration was yet another example of how important the Metro system is, not only to the federal government and to citizens of this region, but to people all over the country who came here to celebrate this historic occasion."

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Anonymous: >"The only unusual incident in the rail system was caused by some leaves that had come to rest on the electrified third rail, causing smoke in a tunnel near the Pentagon station. Trains were single-tracked around the incident."
The Pentagon metro station is in the middle of a long tunnel - how in the world did leaves make it in?

John Kelly: I can only presume it was al Qaeda.

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Anonymous: Re. Baby names: My fiance and I already have this one covered. He gets the boys, I get the girls, both have veto rights. Our first daughter will be named after my late grandmother and my mother's deceased twin sister, our son will be named after my fiance's late grandfather and have my father's middle name. When we start having multiples of the same sex, then we might have some problems.

Oh, and Metrobus stinks! On Wednesday they weren't running all of the buses out of the Pentagon and I had to walk a mile in the snow to get home, after being on the bus for 2 hours. (I live in Alexandria, not that far out!)

John Kelly: That sounds like a pretty complicated formula, but if it works for you, great. I think the veto power is what's key. That way, you're not saddled with a name you can't stand.

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Washington. D.C.: Re. Weather-related confinement: Direct TV rocks.

Nothing that you really want to view is ever part of the package, I've discovered.

So tell us your most vivid Comcast horror story. Everybody has one.

John Kelly: I'll check it out.

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Anonymous: Re. Comcast: "Burned your bridges?" You can't leave us hanging like that! Dish! (pun intended)

John Kelly: Oh, okay...

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washingtonpost.com: In Cable, A Common Bond (Post, Aug. 20, 2004) John Kelly: This was a column I did on the subject of "Why does everyone hate their cable company?" It had been on my mind for a while, but rose to the surface after My Lovely Wife had a screaming match with a Comcast person in our front yard. He'd been sent out to check why we didn't have a signal and insisted on blaming us even though another technician had come out to work on our neighbor's cable, in the process cutting us off. I hated being treated like a suspect whenever I dealt with the cable company.

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Anonymous: So, anyone want to take a guess at how wrong our weather people will be about this weekend. I realize they've gotten much better since 1996 ("no really, we should only get an inch or two") but they are still not great at determining just how much snow we will or won't get.

John Kelly: Remember that we live on the cusp of the mountains and the sea, the North and the South. Just a few degrees difference--in temperature, longitude or latitude--can be the difference between drizzle and blizzard.

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Washington, D.C.: Another thing about Peter Jennings. He referred a couple of times to the "blizzard" that hit Washington on Wednesday. OK, it caused a lot of traffic jams and fender benders, but it was two inches of snow!

John Kelly: "Blizzard" is an exaggeration. Now, this weekend, who knows?

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Fairfax, Va.: Just a comment about the local news Inauguration coverage... Half the people in the nation don't care for Bush and most of the people in DC (DC, northern VA, MD) voted to kick bush out of the office. Yet, the local TV stations were all about the inauguration all day long! Don't they care about their ratings?! Of course I didn't watch the local TV all day yesterday and instead watched the Food Network all day...

John Kelly: The inauguration is like our Oscars. I think it has to be covered in a big way.

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Washington, D.C.: How do you answer questions so fast?

John Kelly: Luckily, people don't ask me very hard questions. And I try to start tackling questions that are already in by around 12:30, so I can have a backlog to turn to. But really the key is not being very smart to begin with. I don't have a very capacious brain, and so finding an answer is like finding a set of car keys in a one-room apartment, not an eight-bedroom mansion.

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Anonymous: John, I love you for backing up the weather forecasters. I'm so sick of people complaining about forecasts being wrong.

John Kelly: And that would be people like...

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Anonymous: Re. Local weather people: Come on John, you cut them too much slack, moutains, oceans, whatever. If I did my job as poorly as they do theirs many times, I'd be without a job.

John Kelly: ...this person. I think they get it right more often than they get it wrong. Because they're usually so dependable, we take them for granted. And when they mess up we really pay attention.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I love Comcast!

John Kelly: I've heard they've gotten better, as has the entire cable industry. I wont' take too much credit for that.

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Anonymous: Re: Anna, Annie, and Hannah. One summer at camp I was friends with a group of three girls, all named Megan, but one of them pronounced it Mee-gun, one May-gun, and one Meh-gun. If I recall correctly, Meh-gun was the hottest of the three.

John Kelly: Doesn't everyone at summer camp have a nickname: Stinky, Muscles, Skeets, Rope Burn?

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Anonymous: I experienced big metrobus problems on Wednesday. How can they say none? Every bus at the Pentagon was delayed - I waited 45 minutes in the freezing cold. Then my husband had to walk 2 miles home because the bus driver wouldn't let him on ("too full", but of course there was plenty of space in the back - the driver didn't even ask people to move back). Not a good day.

John Kelly: I'm hearing from a lot of chatsters that things were awful around the Pentagon.

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Foggy Bottom, D.C.: It is NOT physically impossible to be conceived on an escalator in DC. If you have doubts, please visit the Foggy Bottom metro station, where there is at least one escalator out of service at all times. I don't think they do this to fascilitate conception, as I have yet to see anyone attempt it. But then again, I've never asked Metro why the escalators don't work.

John Kelly: I meant a moving escalator. If we're talking stationary, then we'll no doubt see a mini baby boom in nine months.

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Anonymous: did our mayor berry show at the wilson building for the parade?

John Kelly: I don't know if he was in the viewing box on Penn Ave. but our reporter didn't see him at the Mayor's party.

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Alexandria, Va.: My rule for baby names...if it doesn't sound proper when you put "Prince" or "Princess" in front of it, it's right out.

John Kelly: Good advice. That would spare us things such as "Apple."

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Anonymous: Would someone explain to me why Texan men somehow feel they MUST wear cowboy hats everywhere to show where they're from? It's not as if they actually WORK as cowboys. Most of them have probably never seen a cow up close. Guys, you're not five years old anymore. Dress-up time is OVER.

John Kelly: What happens if someone from Rhode Island is elected president? What will people wear then?

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Silver Spring, Md.:
John,
Good point about the parade being a freakish version of what it was intended to be. The real parade where the cool kids were hanging out was on 16th St. from Malcom X Park to McPherson Sq.
There were about 10,000 colorful and happy people marching and we all had a great time and did not make anybody go through security checkpoints to get in. This large demonstration was hardly mentioned in the Post for some strange reason, as they seemed to want to focus on that wierd speech that the dude from the white house recited. It has been interesting that there has been so much openness the last few days about the speechwriter. I guess this is the "new honesty", were you get right up and say that you did not write the speech that you are about to give, but that you do endorse the message.
I would just like to add that:
I am the eggman.
They are the eggmen.
I am the walrus.
Goo-Goo ga Joo

John Kelly: I swear that I wrote almost all of the answers you read during today's chat. Thanks for joining me. My column will be back on Monday and my chat next Friday. In the meantime, share your thoughts with me at kellyj@washpost.com. Take a second to think of Children's Hospital (and grace us with a donation). And be careful in that snow out there. That car you're about to slide into might be mine.

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