John Kelly's Washington Live

John Kelly
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 16, 2007; 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.

Discussion Archives/ Recent Columns

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John Kelly: What a difference a week makes. If memory serves, last Friday was warm and lovely and the last place any of us wanted to be was at our desks. Today I froze on the Metro platform, got soaked on the sidewalk and am happy to bask in the warm glow of my CRT. Heck, what a difference a DAY makes. Frederick County schools, in cased you missed it, are getting out two hours early today.

This winter has been downright binary, all on or off, 0 or 1, black or white. There's been very little gray. It's either a balmy January or a frigid February. Tell me: How do you know when spring's really arrived? And what do you do to greet it?

Answer Man kicked off the week with the history of some weird houses houses that once stood in Falls Church. Then we got an an elevator with Tom Perez, Maryland's new elevator guru. Tuesday's column was the tale of a D.C. home improvement contractor who sued two customers for libel because they had the audacity to

complain about his work. Wednesday I

suggested how to pick a contractor. And yesterday I visited with some

injured vets who are getting around in a new fashion: on Segways. (Check out the video.)

Maryland is looking at a law that would require school districts to report unexcused absences to the MVA as a way of combating truancy. Take that kids! If you won't go to school because it's good for you, maybe you'll go to keep your license! What else can we threaten them with? Ban them from looking at MySpace or Facebook?

Let's put it in gear....

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Washington, D.C.: Happy Friday John! Do you see our email addresses when reading our questions? I've seen other hosts begin a response to someone with a generic location (like "New York, NY") with "Hey! Good to see you back," or somesuch, so I'm assuming you all have more info about who's submitting questions than the readers do? And seeing as how we have to log in to participate in chats, that would make sense.

John Kelly: Rita, hey! How are you? Did that ointment work?

No, I don't see the e-mail addresses. I think some people may have recognizable identifiers, like "Mount Lebanon, Pa." But as for your e-mail, it's safe. From me, anyway.

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Washington, D.C.: Do you think the shady contractor realizes that suing the people who criticized his work makes him look even worse? Now everyone's going to assume that he has something to hide.

Also: I'm adopting a cat tomorrow! I'm so excited!!

John Kelly: I think he realized that after my columns came out. He contacted me to say that he's going to try to come to some sort of agreement with those two customers that, he says, will make both sides happy. And if he's able to do that he would drop his libel suits. Which would be good for them but kind of sad for me, since I was looking forward to writing about it all.

Good luck with the cat. Keep him away from canaries.

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Boyds, Md.: John,

Hi, I recently read your columns on contractors, and would like to put my two cents in about angieslist. I am a licensed contractor in the state of Maryland, and have been licensed for approximately 20 years, with no complaints ever with MHIC, BBB, or consumer affairs in the. Just thought you might like to know this: we were added to angieslist last year by a client, approximately one month later we were solicited by an angielist employee to pay a monthly fee to have our name at the "top" of the list as opposed to "just" being listed, this kept up for three months until I just stopped returning their phone calls. Ironically, they did the same thing to my plumber also.

John Kelly: Yes, Angie's List is definitely a for-profit concern. Members pay about $6 a month to access and post reviews. But just as The Post doesn't make its money through selling subscriptions but through selling ads, so Angie's List makes its real money (I believe) in ways other than that six bucks. Service providers can advertise in their magazine, or, more correctly, can put coupons in there. I believe only companies that get good ratings from members are invited to place coupons, but they do have to pay for the privilege.

Any chatters out there have any experience with Angie's List?

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Van Ness, D.C.: Submitting early to zoom back home before the rain turns to snow and the stores deplete their TP stock. I saw an Internet rumor that both you and Sinbad had died. Sorry to hear that John. Do the Irish throw good wakes?

John Kelly: The chat just started so I suppose the rumor could still come true. But I'm pretty confident I can outlast the day. Like Dick Cheney I'm followed everywhere I go by a Cub Scout with a defibrillator, a tourniquet and a bottle of Bactine.

As for wakes, yes the Irish throw good ones. Not that we need an excuse to eat and drink and get emotional.

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Rockville, Md.: Not certain if this question has been asked before, or not. How would you recommend a "mid-career change" woman go about entering the world of newspaper writing as a columnist, such as yourself? Any inside tips to offer?

John Kelly: I am the worst person to ask, since I had such an unlikely entry into newspapers. I didn't major in journalism (not necessarily a handicap). I didn't work on my college newspaper. (Not that that's a requirement; I mean, Jayson Blair DID.) I didn't ever work at another newspaper. I was a freelance writer hired for a temporary editing job in the Weekend section 17 years ago. Then I just dug in my heels and refused to be shifted. When the then-editor of the Metro section looked at my resume when posting the announcement that I was taking over this column, she said, "You know, if you'd come to me back then, I wouldn't have hired you." Thanks!

But as in so many professions, if you can show that you can do the work, you'll have a shot. Writing just involves doing lots of it, sending it lots of places, hoping it gets published and developing relationships with editors. And did I say doing lots of writing?

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Wheaton, Md.: Hi John-

I've heard the intersection of Randolph and Veirs Mill Roads in MoCo referred to variously as Rockville, Silver Spring, Wheaton, and Kensington, all in news reports this past week (mostly about that unfortunate bus crash). How can this be? What do you think it is?

John Kelly: That really is a no man's land there. It's a kind of demilitarized border zone. I would cross Silver Spring off the list of possibilities, though. It's nowhere near there. And it's not Wheaton, either. I've always thought of Wheaton stopping at around Connecticut Avenue. Kensington is kinda weird and blobby, but, no, I'm not buying that either. Since I take Viers Mill Road TO Rockville, how about calling it that? Then again, traveling west on Viers Mill you still haven't reached Aspen Hill yet. So, I'm stumped.

You know what, let's just go with Silver Spring, since that covers anything.

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mid-D.C.: Does Marion Barry teach any courses on Tax Avoidance for Dummies?

John Kelly: That's his 100-level class. The graduate level course is Jailtime Avoidance for Dummies. He seems to be good at that, too.

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The U.S. Homeland: Is everyone in D.C. an amnesiac?

Bush removal ended Guam investigation (Boston Globe)

US attorney's demotion halted probe of lobbyist

Have you ever googled Jack Abramoff and Mohammed Atta? Weird huh?

John Kelly: Jack Abramoff and Mohammed Atta? What are you? High? My very quick reading of the sites that come up when you Google those names suggests a link because Atta may have visited cruiseship casinos associated with Abramoff when he was in Florida. If Atta ever ate at a McDonald's would you rope Ronald McDonald into the conspiracy?

But about those federal prosecutors: I think it's got to be adios, Gonzales, after this. But I also found it interesting in one article I read that it's pretty much standard procedure to dismiss the prosecutors after a change in Administration. What's weird here is the White House did it mid-term. I also wonder how much leeway people should have to TALK about things without doing them. That is, is there anything wrong with a Harriet Miers saying, "You know, we should get rid of ALL of them" if it's just part of some off-the-wall brainstorming that doesn't, in the end, come to pass?

Of course, the fact is, it looks like at least some of the prosectors were fired because they weren't supportive enough of the Bushies and that some GOP politicians stuck their snouts in when they shouldn't have. I wonder if the president is just going to get pecked to pieces over the next two years, as more of this stuff comes out.

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Nosey: Were you ever on a family vacation and pulled out of gas station or convenience store and accidently left one of the kids behind?

John Kelly: No, but I only have two kids. I can see it might be a problem if I had four or five.

I do, however, usually end up crossing wires with My Lovely Wife once every vacation. We once came very close to divorce at Heathrow Airport when we each thought we were supposed to meet the other somewhere else after I returned a rental car. I remember thinking to myself, "Well, I guess I'll see her on the plane--or back in America."

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Capitol Hill: I'm not sure if you've answered this question before, but can you please settle a debate for me .... why are there stairs on Ohio Drive by the Memorial Bridge (along the Rock Creek Parkway)? Someone told me they were previously used when concerts were held along the Potomac River (before the construction of the Kennedy Center). Is that fact or fiction?

Thanks!

John Kelly: That's a fact, Jack. (If that is your name. [And even if it isn't.])

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washingtonpost.com: Answer Man: A Gate to Summers Past (Post, Dec. 13, 2004)

John Kelly: It was the original Watergate, though most of the references I found to it spelled it "Water Gate."

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National Airport, D.C.: Hey John,

What's in the water over by National? I pass there morning and afternoon on the bike path and lately there is a distinct, nauseating rotting-onions smell emanating from the canal wedged between the runway and GW Pkwy. Is this some ploy to keep the geese away?

John Kelly: First I've learned of it. I don't think they use smell to keep birds away from airports. Usually it's noise and cannons and trained dogs and stuff. Could it just be rotting vegetation or brackish water?

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Suitland, Md.: Hey John. Love your chats by the way do you think if we all did a tribal hula dance all this yucky rain would stop, 'cause if it would help I would be glad to get it started.

John Kelly: It couldn't hurt--except maybe your chances for promotion.

I just looked at the National Weather Service forecast from the Sterling office. The map they have up looks like a Preppy nightmare. It's all pink and green. All that's missing is a little embroidered alligator somewhere near Warrenton.

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Washington, D.C.: It's Rita again...

The cat adopter made me think of a story I heard recently. When a friend (seriously, it wasn't me) was little, she had a pet canary. She was helping her grandmother clean the house, and Nana suggested that she clean the bottom of the bird cage with the vacuum cleaner. So she did. -SHWOOOP!- The canary got sucked into the vacuum.

I'm a horrible person - I couldn't stop laughing.

John Kelly: Didn't I see that in a Tom and Jerry cartoon once?

This is why you must be very clear when talkig to children. "Use the vacuum to clean the bottom of the bird cage" should have been followed by "AFTER you take the canary out."

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Alexandria, Va.: Hi,

I'm a survivor of the two consecutive red line breakdowns this week. I managed to get through both of those frustrations without getting all worked up, but I guess my nerves were on edge last night when I got on the train and I snapped at a teenage girl who was being really rude.

She and her 5 friends were being really inconsiderate and and in my best mommy-voice explained to her "You know, when you stand on the metro seat with your muddy shoes, it makes it dirty and others have to sit there with their nice clothes."

She was embarrassed and apologized, but I was embarrassed, too. I was confronting her before I even knew that it was coming out of my mouth! I consider myself to be assertive, but definitely not aggressive.

I usually keep pretty quiet on the train, but there are lots of times when someone should speak up - I've asked young guys to turn down radios, asked for seats when people are stretched out on crowded trains, etc.

I know I'm not their mom, but am I being really rude for (usually) politely asking others to be decent?

John Kelly: No, it sounds like you handled it perfectly. You were polite about it and she apologized. And maybe the next time she's in that situation she won't stand on the seat in muddy shoes. Or stand on the seat at all. (I mean, really....) I'm glad she didn't react in a bad way: "$%&@ off, lady!"

I think it's probably 50/50 if rude/clueless people will have the right reaction, but it doesn't hurt to try. But I think the key is to ask in a way that leaves you blameless in case they refuse or give you 'tude. If you're polite about it and they're rude, then they look like jerks.

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Hash 101: John, why is corned beef hash called "corned" beef hash when it doesn't even have corn in it?

John Kelly: It's called corned beef hash because it's a hash--you know, a chopped up sorta thing--that's made out of corned beef. I used to think that corned beef was called that because the cows ate corn. I was wrong. Corned beef has that distinctive taste and texture because the meat has been brined, and in olden times it was rubbed with little pellets of salt about the size of kernels of...corn! Don't believe me? Well I hope you'll believe the USDA.

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Cat Coincidence: So my kitten is getting neutered today. First time I've gone through this. This will make him calmer and less likely to chew my arms off during the middle of the night, right?

John Kelly: I am not a cat person so I don't know what the ol' snip-snip is supposed to do to them.

However, I did see this on Channel 5 last night. It's video from YouTube of a TV reporter being mauled by a house cat. It's within the first 20 seconds or so. The funny thing was, Channel 5 showed the grainy YouTube video and they were joking about it. Hey, it was on a Fox affiliate. You couldn't get a high-quality version?

This is why I fear cats more than dogs. They have those sharp teeth and claws.

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Spring Arriving:: A friend who lived near the Four Ps on Connecticut Ave used to say she knew spring was here when the port-a-johns were set up on the sidewalk for St. Patrick's Day.

John Kelly: Oh lovely. Makes you wonder what the "Four Ps" really stands for. The frigid weather tomorrow at least ought to keep the odor down.

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corned beef hash : OK Smart Guy, where do football field hash marks come from?

John Kelly: This wheeled machine that's filled with white paint. Really, sometimes you can be so dense.

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Concrete Tower in NW, D.C.: Hi John,

There is a box-like concrete tower near Mass Ave and 4th St NW. It has a painting of the Capitol on it. It has no signs or windows or anything. Is it a missle silo? What the heck is that structure?

John Kelly: While there were missile silos around Washington (Nike sites, see "Answer Man," passim), that is not a missile silo. It's actually an exhaust fan for the highway that runs underneath there. Answer Man addressed in a previous column, which will magically appear in just a few seconds.

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washingtonpost.com: On H Street NW, near Second Street and Massachusetts Avenue, there is an odd-looking building that is very skinny and tall. On one side is painted the Capitol dome. Everyone I ask says it is a missile silo. What is it really?

Miriam Hauss, Washington

The strange structure is actually an airshaft, built in 1975 to vent vehicle exhaust from I-395, which runs underneath the city there.

The monolithic edifice got its unconventional look in 1988, after the city had a contest asking artists for proposals on how to decorate it.

"To my surprise, I actually won," said local artist Val Lewton.

Lewton calls his 60-by-100-foot work "The Airshaft Mural." It's a trompe l'oeil design that looks as if the concrete pylon is pierced by windows through which the U.S Capitol peeps.

"I sort of wanted to emphasize the concrete," said Lewton. "I thought if it looked like it had been penetrated, it would make it look even more solid than it was."

Lewton painted a one-third scale mockup of his design on foamcore panels in his studio, carefully matching the concrete's color. When it was time to paint the beast, Lewton hired a window-washing company in lieu of building a scaffold, so the painters could go up and down the face of the shaft freely.

One day, Lewton said, a homeless man announced that he could help. It turned out that Victor Korenev was an artist from Bulgaria.

"The guy could do anything," said Lewton. "I had amateurs working on it, but he was able to take a look at what I wanted and hit just the right notes."

The whole painting job took a month and cost $20,000.

To see other, smaller, examples of Lewton's work, visit the "Art & Eros" group show at the Parker Gallery (629 New York Ave. NW; 202-628-1734)through March 13.

As for the missile silo, it's hidden in the Washington Monument, naturally. John F. Kelly

John Kelly: Voila.

Coincidentally, the artist who painted the design, Val Lewton, is the son of the Hollywood producer Val Lewton, who made the classic 1940s horror film "Cat People."

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John Kelly: You know what's weird? That painted silo question came in before the chat started so I answered it early and saved it. And now there's been all these comments about cats. "Cat People." Cats. Spooky.

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Washington, D.C.: Will Hopper here, thanks for the support of the Segs4Vets event this week

John Kelly: It was really cool. I got to ride a Segway for the first time. Thankfully, no video of that exists. I didn't fall off or anything, but I did have a grim, white-knuckled look about me.

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Helena, Mont.: Re: Steps to the Potomac. You're right, John, I remember as a very young boy listening to the music there. The band/orchestra played on a floating barge and it really was kind of neat.

John Kelly: And people used to paddle up in canoes and rowboats to hear, too. Jets landing at National Airport kinda ended the whole thing. Too hard to hear.

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dear Answer Man: What's that weird spot on the back of your neck just to the right of your spinal column?

John Kelly: My right or your right?

The one on my right is an unabsorbed twin. The one on your right is a hickey.

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Mt. Lebanon, Pa.: Have you ever biked around what you would call Washington D.C.? A perimeter tour, if you will.

(since I don't live there I don't know what greater D.C. includes)

How long would that typically take, say, on a nice Spring day when big Government is on vacation?

Is there a bike path that's contiguous or do you have to use sidewalks and busy streets? Railroad and Metro right-of-ways? Private lanes around marinas and mansions?

And where's the best place/s to stop for lunch?

For the big picture, thanks much. HLB

John Kelly: There isn't a single trail that leads all around the perimeter of the city, thought that would be an interesting path to chart out. Washington isn't the most bike-friendly city, but nor is it the least. There are bike/jogging paths through Rock Creek Park that are nice, as is the C&O Canal and (outside the city) Capital Crescent and W&OD trails. I think I'd pack a lunch.

Didn't someone say Bike to Work Day is May 18? I'm game. Just hope it isn't a day like today.

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Hyattsville, Md.: Answerman, given your recent column on the contractor, I hope you can help me out with this. There's a new (built about 6 months ago) parking garage at work that floods (at least on my level) every time it rains. There's about two inches of water in there now and the water is pouring in through the ceiling. Should I be concerned about the safety of this building? They are building an 8-story condo building on top (needlesstosay, I would not buy a condo built by these people), so I'm not even sure how the water is getting in.

John Kelly: Sure, I'd be concerned. The place might not fall down, but someone messed up something. Water's not supposed to fill parking garages or pour through ceilings. If I was the owner of the building I'd be on the phone with the builder, demanding they fix it.

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Seg-no-way: I am able-bodied and I don't think I'd ride a Segway again. I was always afraid of falling in a turn or going down a sidewalk ramp. I'd spend my money on a good bike instead.

John Kelly: I learned a lot about Segways spending time with these guys. They pointed out that a lot of people who don't appear disabled but are use Segways. They said they get tired of the dirty looks they receive from able-bodied people who think they're lazy. Some hang disabled placards off the handlebars. (Some of the amputee vets had long pants on and so you wouldn't know they'd lost a leg.) They also said that Segway is sort of cool to the machine being marketed as something for the disabled. The company, they said, doesn't want that association, and doesn't want to be regulated in that way. Why not just use a wheelchair, I asked. The Segs4Vets guys said there are health benefits to standing up, and also the vets get tired of people looking down at them.

HAving said all that, I think it's an odd machine for the able bodied to have. Legs work just fine and, as you said, so do bikes.

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Germantown, Md.: John, I had a dream about you two nights ago. What does that mean?

John Kelly: It depends. What was going on? Was I holding a broken cane? According to one online dream interpreter I looked at, that means lost hope. Was I holding an ax? That symbolizes destruction. Were we walking in mud? That means "Suffering, pain, bitterness, diseases." Was I chasing you through mud with an ax while you hobbled away on your broken cane? Whatever that means, it can't be good.

I couldn't find any symbolism for "John Kelly" or "writer." But there was this reference to "typewriter": "To see a typewriter in your dream, indicates that you need to open the lines of communication with someone in your life." So call your mother.

Or the dream could have just meant that you had spicy food for dinner that night. (Or that a home contractor did you wrong.)

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Falls Church, Va.: Another Coincidence: So my husband is getting neutered today. First time I've gone through this. This will make him calmer and less likely to chew my ... um ... arms! off during the middle of the night, right?

John Kelly: Yes, he'll be just like a big fat kitten. He will need help with his grooming, however.

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near some Giant on Conn. Ave: Do you think Rep. Jefferson will ever list his freezer on Craig's List?

John Kelly: I hope it will go to the National Archives or Smithsonian. Or maybe he could give it to the new Madame Tussaud's. That could be a great exhibit: Washington scandals in wax. Jefferson reaching into his freezer to get a Klondike bar and a wad of 20s. Wilbur Mills in the Tidal Basin with his stripper. Monica Lewinski delivering, um, pizza....

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Silver Spring, Md.: Silver Spring often refers to about 40% of MoCo... With rockville covering another 20... Which is particularly strange, since there's actually IS an incorporated municipality of rockville which is notably smaller than what's generally refered to as rockville - everything north of NIH until gaithersburg on the pike I've heard called rockville. It seems to me that since very little of the county is incorporated, there are no legal boundaries to the most of the neighborhoods in the county, so people use whatever is convinient. Like the buildings around Grosvenor that have defined themselves as North Bethesda, so they pop up whenyou search for apartments in Bethesda. Who said they get to take part of rockville, which isn't necessarily rockville anyway, and call it North Bethesda?

John Kelly: Then there's "Potomac," which people are rather free with. It includes parts of Rockville and Gaithersburg.

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Washington, D.C.: The Segs4Vets Program started out very small a few years ago and has now grown and is taking on a life of it's own.

It is great to get to work with these guys and help them with their mobility options.

John Kelly: The two men who started it, Jerry Kerr and Leonard Timm, are amazing. Leonard doesn't have any legs and when I saw him wasn't using prosthesis. His Segway had been modified so he just sat on it with his stumps but was still able to manipulate it quite deftly by leaning his body in various directions.

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Mygraine VA: Even with a migraine headache at home, this chat so rules! Thanks John (and your assistant) because today I am not at work with all the interuptions and can enjoy your chat. Someday at home for this chat w/o headache is a goal of mine!

John Kelly: Sorry to hear about the migraine. Megadoses of pain reliever and Ben Gay on teh forehead. That's what I've heard,anyway.

Today is also a good day to have a fire, methinks. In the fireplace, of course.

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Washington, D.C.: To the cat neuterer: Your kitten will still be a kitten, but he will mellow more with age. Un-fixed male cats remain agressive, which is harder to live with when they're 12 pounds and no longer adorable kittens. Fixed male gets grow up to be fatter and more relaxed. So don't expect any changes to his kitten behavior, but in the long run, he'll be a better roommate.

For the cat adopter: Yay for you! Someone should buy you a drink.

John Kelly: Whoops, I should have posted this one before I posted the vasectomy joke!

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Tidbit of the Week in my community: John,

The main tidbit seems to be some cats are doing their thing in people's yards. Instead of concerning themselves with the 3 armed robberies we had last year. Go figure.

John Kelly: Again with the cats.... This chat has gone to the dogs, and by dogs I mean cats.

I think I'd be more concerned with armed robbers than litter box mayhem, too. But maybe they're trying to look on the bright side.

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box-like concrete tower near Mass Ave and 4th St NW: Maybe THIS is the building that houses the art history and business majors who can't get real day jobs! You know, the ones secretly listening in to our phone calls, perusing our emails, installing public TC cameras, and monitoring our online chat sessions.

We need a CETA program to get those young people real jobs and.. real lives.

Maxwell Smart, Retired

John Kelly: If the shoe phone fits....

Well, there is a difference between a real job and a real life, or there should be, anyway.

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Tough luck John: You missed the Ides by one day. But beware anyway.

John Kelly: I never miss the Ides. It's My Lovely Wife's birthday. I hide all the knives, just in case.

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Madame Tussaud's: Finally, a home for my ear wax collection!

I (heart) you John Kelly.

John Kelly: I can see it now: The Supreme Court, rendered in ear wax, next to the Stars and Stripes, made from belly button lint.

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Red Line: Any word on whether the guy who left his bags on the train and caused all the problems this week was fined or ticketed. Surely it seems everyone over-reacted, but come on. In this day and age in this town to carelessly leave your bags behind on a train is just inconceivable. Perhaps a well publicized fine might serve as a deterrent to others who may be inclined to be so clueless. Just wondering.

John Kelly: Even better, they should bring back the stocks, like from Colonial times. If he had to sit in them for a few hours, on display in the middle of Union Station, I think the point would sink in.

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TO: Hyattsville, Md. ATTN: Leaking Garage.....:1 word:

EVACUATE!

(besides, it's Friday)

John Kelly: I'd at least be PO'd about the effect it was having on my shoes as I walked to and from my car.

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from the desk of Miss Goody Two-Shoes: So what's the minimum age the brat pack can take the METRO w/o "adult" accompaniment?

Maybe they should stake truant officers on the trains.

Remember: children are reared, chickens are raised.

G.T.

John Kelly: We checked with Metro and they told us there isn't a minimum age. It's up to the parents.

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Bethesda, Md.: John, no question just a quick Happy St. Patrick's Day to you. Enjoy the corned beef, cabbage, and green beer.

John Kelly: Thank you. I think I'll skip the green beer, but I do like chewing through the occasional Guinness. I hope to accomplish that tomorrow.

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My foolish hearth : John, do any restaurants still have old fashioned wood fireplaces?

John Kelly: Here's a list that Eve Zibart had in her Weekend dining column six years ago. I don't know how many remain:

IRON GATE INN -- 1734 N St. NW; 202/737-1370. Two fireplaces. Not wheelchair accessible.

MONOCLE -- 107 D St. NE; 202/546-4488. Double-faced fireplace.

MORRISON-CLARK INN -- 1015 L St. NW; 202/898-1200. Two fireplaces. Not wheelchair accessible.

THAT'S AMORE -- 1699 Rockville Pike (at Congressional Plaza); 301/881-7891. Two fireplaces.

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John Kelly: All right, back to work.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay dry. Stay warm. Stay as sweet as you are. Buckle up. Drive carefully. Don't forget to tip your waitron.

I'll see you in the paper on Sunday, when Answer Man will have yet ANOTHER thrilling video presentation. Remember that if you see anything you think might find a home in my column, let me know: kellyj@washpost.com.

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