washingtonpost.com
John Kelly's Washington: Washington's Segregated Restaurant Scene, College Admission Letters, Cherry Blossoms

John Kelly
Washington Post Metro Columnist
Friday, April 3, 2009 12:00 PM

Post Metro columnist John Kelly was online Friday, April 3, at Noon ET to discuss Washington's segregated restaurant scene, the agony of waiting for college admission letters and the beauty of the cherry blossoms.

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John Kelly: Hello on a rainy Friday, at least a rainy Friday if you happen to be in Washington RIGHT NOW, as opposed to checking in from elsewhere on the globe (where it's sunny or, possibly, snowy) or you're reading a transcript at a later date and the weather has changed.

In fact, you could be reading this chat centuries later as part of your history dissertation or because you're trapped on a remote lunar outpost and you've read everything else in your godforsaken pressurized, aluminum hut and the resupply vessel isn't coming for three more years and all that's left is a ratty copy of "Best Online Chats of the 21st Century" and though you vowed never to read it, you are now so desperate that even it will do. If that's the case, sorry about the global warming! We meant to fix it but never got around to it.

Where was I? Ah, yes, online chat. My columns were all over the place this week, from the silly to the serious. We'll start with the latter. Yesterday I wrote about

restaurant segregtion

in the Washington area, a fact of life into the 1960s. The old heads I spoke with were a bit reluctant to discuss it. I think it pains and embarrasses them still. One woman told me that her elderly mother still bristles when seated at the back of a restaurant, even if it's benign, so accustomed was she to the practice back in the day. Another man told me he remembers reading about students from Howard University who would dress up in African garb and go to Baltimore to eat, claiming to be diplomats stationed in Washington. They would be served in white restaurants.

Of course there were plenty of black-owned restaurants that thrived: Billy Simpson's, Harrison's, the Florida Avenue Grill and Ben's Chili Bowl (both of which are still around). What other places do you remember?

This is the week that hearts were broken: high school senior hearts.

College letters came this week.

I hope your kid was accepted where he/she wanted to go. Mine was, though she was rejected by several of the places she applied to. I think this is a very tough year to be a high school senior. One problem is too many of their parents were fooling around 18 or 19 years ago, creating the current glut.

The cherry blossoms should take our minds off our worries, though. I went last night to a

cherry blossom reception

at the Japanese ambassador's house. (Me and plenty of others.) I finally met some princesses. I haven't been down to see the actual trees, though. Is that a tourist thing to do?

Maybe University of Maryland students will go see the cherry blossoms, since they've been denied

the right to watch pornography

in their student-run movie theater. Good decision? Bad decision?

Oh, and if you're our spaceman from 2509, I'm not going to bother to explain what pornography is. I imagine if you're stuck by yourself on that lunar outpost, you already know.

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John Kelly: I have just been informed that it is actually sunny outside. I am far from a window so I cannot confirm that.

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Porno at UMD: Boy, things are radically changed since I went to college in the 70s. If any student group had dared to even suggest sponsoring an XXX-rated film, heads would have rolled! Every women's group on campus would have screamed about the porno film industry's systemic degradation of women and both Andrea Dworkin and Catherine Mackinnon would have been invited to speak. Now, female students justify this! I'm depressed. Things were certainly better in my day!

John Kelly: I say if students want to show an X-rated film, let them. They're over 18, right? They're using student activity fees that they pay, not state money. The First Amendment applies on college campuses. People who don't want to go don't have to. And people who want to protest are welcome to. It might even spur a, I shudder to use this word, dialogue.

I've heard from a few colleagues that back in the day--yes, the '70s--"Deep Throat" was shown on their college campuses. And surely in the '60s underground films were screened at colleges. "Midnight Cowboy" was rated X when it came out. (I'm not sure the difference between an X-rated film and an XXX-rated film. I think it was just a bit of hyperbole on the part of the U-Md. students.)

I wonder why they were showing "Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge" and not "Pirates I." I mean, how can you be expected to know what's going on if you haven't seen the first one?

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Alexandria, Va.: The person featured in the column about the Roma Restaurant should be aware that blacks weren't the only people discriminated against there. About thirty-five years ago, a friend and I went there for a dinner after going to the Uptown for a movie. The service was slow and incredibly rude, the food mediocre, but the topper came when we asked for a dessert menu -- the waiter refused, and said we were to leave! I guess teenagers (well-groomed ones, I might add) weren't welcome there. The Roma Restaurant remains my worst D.C. dining experience ever. Many years later, when I read in the Post that the restaurant was closing, it made my day!

washingtonpost.com: An Old Racial Stain on the Area's Table Linens (John Kelly's Washington, April 2)

John Kelly: I swear this is a total coincidence but did you see that today's Page Three MetropoList includes the Roma Restaurant? One reader said most of the excellent waitresses were from Africa. That must have been well after 1960.

I remember often feeling discriminated against as a teenager, whether it was poor service in a restaurant or dirty looks in a candy store. Of course, now that I'm an adult, I probably shoot some of those dirty looks at teens myself.

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Washington, D.C.: I am a 75 years old 3rd generation, African-American Washingtonian with great memories of my city, even during segregation. One of my memories is of representing my Girl Scout troop along with my cousin at a conference. All of the other girls were Caucasian as were the chaperones. We attempted to let them know that we wouldn't be able to eat with them as we were sightseeing downtown. The adults were not from here. We assured them that we were okay and would eat when we returned home. The adults went into restaurant after restaurant before realizing that we would not be served (seated) as long as the two of us were with the group.

John Kelly: That's awful. Imagine turning away a Girl Scout? I spoke with a gentleman whose father loved the food from King's Chinese Restaurant in Alexandria. His father would send him to get carryout from there, but the son had to go to the back to pick it up. They wouldn't let him in the front door. "You know what the score is," he said of those days.

I wanted to write the column to just sort of remind people that it wasn't all THAT long ago. There are plenty of people around who remember it all too well. Say what you will about Barack Obama but when you measure his election against the actions of some of our citizens just 40 or 50 years ago, you see how far we've come.

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Laurel, Md.: John, you and I are the same age, which means we're about a decade too young to remember segregated dining (in this area). I do remember around the mid/late 60s our family changed barber shops because ours wouldn't cut black people's hair.

I think it was commonly believed at the time that blacks' hair left some kind of germs on the cutting implements that was hazardous to white scalps; so after it became illegal to deny service based on race, the shop had a particular set of implements they only used for black patrons.

John Kelly: I'm not sure that was commonly believed. I wonder if it was just an excuse for racism that proprietors wanted to exercise anyway. Reading the news stories from back then is astonishing. Is there something refreshing about such honesty? Probably not.

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Calculati, ON: John, do you ever use the calculator that's on your PC? I hate it and I use a desk calculator but some of my coworkers love the one on the PC.

John Kelly: I both hate it and I use it all the time. I use it because I'm useless at math and must turn to the computer for even the most basic calculations. And I hate it because it's so dumb to have to use the mouse and cursor to click on the little numbers. Plus I hate having to go to "Programs," then "Accessories," then "Calculator."

The one on the Mac is a little better.

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Falls Church: The agony of college rejection letters? How about the disaster from UC San Diego? (see below) My daughter and I were sitting in front of her computer when she got one of these e-mails. She immediately figured out it was a mistake; I immediately assumed the mistake was when they rejected her in the first place, and they had accepted her this time around. (She was accepted by, and is going to, UC Santa Barbara). Being a Washingtonian, I immediately thought "LAWSUIT!" but was reined in by the cooler heads in my family.

"UC San Diego -- a school for the smart ones, supposedly -- mistakenly congratulated nearly 29,000 applicants on their acceptance, according to university officials. Earlier this month, about 17,000 students were offered admission for the fall, leaving nearly 29,000 hopefuls out in the cold. But on Tuesday, the school's communications office said an e-mail was sent Monday afternoon to all 46,377 students who applied for admission -- including the 29,000 rejects -- welcoming them to the campus. A half-hour later, school officials said, they realized their mistake. Almost two hours after the first note went out, a second e-mail was sent, apologizing to 28,889 freshmen applicants for the mistake. "No member of this department is more acutely aware of the emotional roller-coaster that this could cause for our applicants," Assistant Vice Chancellor Mae W. Brown said. An anonymous parent told the Los Angeles Times it was a "colossal screw-up." Similar incidents have happened at other schools -- including Cornell in the recent past, the paper reported, but the UCSD incident was the biggest "screw-up."

John Kelly: Wow. They're lucky they weren't scraping high school students off the pavement. This is why it always pays to double-, nay, triple-check the address in the "TO" field.

Your daughter will love UCSB. My sister-in-law used to be the head of the libraries there and we visited. It's a stunning campus. It has its own beach. Of course, so does Northwestern, where my daughter's going, but I think UCSB's beach is a little nicer--and warmer.

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Annapolis, Md.: OK, I'll admit it -- I've seen both Pirates I and Pirates II. And no, you don't need to have seen the first to be able to effectively follow the "plot" of the second. :)

John Kelly: So it's not like the "Godfather" trilogy?

The plot can be summed up as, "Pirates have a lot of sex"?

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Gaithersburg, Md.: John, did you notice how many stories there were the last two weeks about kids lived being ruined by moronic parents:

Infant girl's body found floating in Lake Artemesia Adoptive mother had killed her daughters in Montgomery County and kept their bodies in the freezer Four-year-old mauled by mother's boyfriend's pit bull (survived; pit bulls are illegal in PGC) Baltimore cult member dehydrates infant son to death for saying grace wrong; believes he will be resurrected

Will our kids get a chance at life?

John Kelly: Most of them will. I guess it's the same thing as in the animal kingdom: Frogs lay thousands of eggs because most won't survive to adulthood.

When I read about the Jacks case recently (I think that's the four dead girls in the DC row house; there seem to be so many of these that it's easy to get them mixed up) I wondered how social services can fix itself. The story said there was meant to be a monthly home visit. And there wasn't. Well, either you do it or you don't. How can you have that as one of the stipulations and then not do it? Don't you have a sheet of graph paper or a calendar and you tick it off after visiting every month? It really makes you wonder how many other awful cases are out there that we don't know about--yet.

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Cameron, N.C.: Hey John, sunny, windy and 70 here in the Sand Hills. Just sayin'.

John Kelly: Is the wind blowing the sand around? That happens on the beach sometimes. I've been to Topsail, N.C., before when it's windy and by the time I packed to go home I felt like I'd had dermabrasion.

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Quickie: What's the mascot of UCSB?

By example, UC Irvine is/are the Anteaters.

If that's important to one in selecting a school of higher education.

John Kelly: Well only spent a few hours on the campus but from that brief time I think the mascot is the Blonde Hottie.

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Reston, Va.: John -- Raining here...

John Kelly: Thank you. You know what they say about rain: "It's good for the people who like to say, 'It's good for the farmers.'"

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Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: John, have you filed your taxes yet? You know you won't get a cabinet post if you don't file your taxes.

John Kelly: I'm hoping My Lovely Wife is working on our taxes right now. We have a week and a half, right?

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Atlanta, Ga.: On being a teenager... Certainly remember betting horrific service since waiters always thought we would be the worst tippers. I had older sisters who were waiting tables, so I knew how to tip and tip well. And always did (before and after waiting tables myself). But if I got lousy service, well, the tip reflected that. I had the money to tip, but the waiters usually treated us poorly since we were teens, so they got what they deserved for tips. It's a two-way street...

John Kelly: I think everyone should have to work in a restaurant at one point in their life. You will never experience dining out the same way again. You have more respect for good waiters and waitresses and more disdain for bad ones. On the other hand, you're probably a little more suspicious of the food.

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Reston, Va.: Hi John: How sweet of you to wear a tie that perfectly symbolizes the cherry blossom. Bravo, my friend! But, my question is about journalistic ethics. I'm not sure it's cool to be eating the food at an event you're covering. Let's say they plied you with Sake to make you write happy things about the cherry blossoms? Where would your journalistic integrity be then? Hmmm?

John Kelly: I didn't have any of the sake. And I only had five measly sushies. (I think technically they were sashimi.) By the time I thought to get back in line to get some more it looked like the locusts had descended. And the ambassador was walking around in his bathrobe, clearly wanting the guests to leave.

Or that might have been a kimono.

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Arlington Gay: John, your column was especially timely considering the news out of Iowa this morning. Needless to say, I can't stop smiling today!

John Kelly: You speak of "Iowa Court Says Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional"?

The other day I was thinking of this really weird movie I saw. No, not "Pirates III: 3-D Sexo-rama," but "Man of the Century." It came out in 1999 and is about a newspaper reporter in contemporary New York City who is straight out of the 1920s. He wears spats and a hat and talks in that snappy patois. There's never any explanation of why he's that way, though some of the other characters try to figure it out, as in this snippet of dialogue:

Samantha Winter: Are you gay?

Johnny Twennies: Sure I'm gay, I'm as gay as a day in May.

Samantha Winter: [puzzled] Well are you bi?

Johnny Twennies: By myself mostly.

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Race and restaurants: I had a stunning experience with race and restaurants in 1985. As a college student, I went to Florida for spring break with a group of friends. Some of us wanted to make the drive back to D.C. a day early and left together -- 3 young white women and one young black man. We thought nothing of it until we stopped to eat at a HoJo's off 95 in South Carolina. As we walked in, all activity in the restaurant stopped as both white and black patrons stopped mid-bite to stare at us. The "hostess" looked us over with a scowl and sat us down. The waitress pretty much threw our food at us. We ate and rushed out of there. Even our black friend was stunned as he'd never experienced anything so blatant in the D.C. area.

The episode was a very personal reminder of how far racial understanding still needed to go, 20 years after the civil rights movement. It's so gratifying that our society has continued to move forward on these issues.

John Kelly: Howard Johnson's was one of the chains that was specifically targeted in the Washington area in the 1950s and '60s.

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Washington, D.C.: Restaurant segregation: I first visited Washington on a family vacation in 1963. My first trip South. August. Hot. Un-air-conditioned Chevy. I distinctly remember seeing a sign at the Mt. Vernon restaurant to the effect that this is a federal facility and seating is without regard to race, color, etc.

Obviously I am mis-remembering this. Mt. Vernon was then and still is privately run. But I probably did see a sign like that, maybe in a museum or congressional cafeteria, suggesting that outside the government building, the segregation of public accommodation was still well established.

John Kelly: Yes, federal facilities were integrated. Also, I've been told, the bus station in Washington (along with Union Station and National Airport). The YMCA also had an integrated restaurant. The Rev. A. Powell Davies, who at the time was the pastor of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church on 16th Street, compiled a list of integrated restaurants that he urged his congregants to frequent.

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Bethesda, Md.: John...what are you thoughts about all the changes this week to the Post? And, specifically, the downsizing of the comics, both in size and number? I miss Judge Parker of all the comics they took out. Are they considering any reversals in this decision

John Kelly: I don't know if we're planning any revisions. We seem to be trying to make the best of a bad situation. I miss "Piranha Club" and "Zippy." We all have ones we'd rather have seen killed (or moved to the Web, I suppose I should say). "Red and Rover," "Prickly City" and "Hagar the Horrible" would have been up against the wall if I was dictator.

One reader sent me a suggestion: Print the comics on top of each other, one half in red ink, the other in blue ink, then give readers those 3-D glasses.

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College rejection issue: Some colleges and universities handle this better than others. My son applied to James Madison U for grad school, went through the final interview process, and didn't even get a rejection letter. Nothing. He finally called, and was told that way. It's not like there were hundreds of people at that point, but under 30! Very poor in my view!

John Kelly: That's unacceptable. As unpleasant as such a task may be, that's part of being a grown-up and running a grown-up university.

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Potomac, Md.: You suppose if that cult woman's son is resurrected (as stipulated in the plea agreement) that he'll go search for the real killers?

Plea Deal Includes Resurrection Clause (Post, March 31)

John Kelly: Him and O.J.?

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Thought you'd like to know: The title of my browser window is: "John Kelly's Washington: Segregated Restaurant Scene, College Admission Letters, Beauty of Cher - Microsoft Internet Explorer."

John Kelly: Ah, the beauty of Cher. Just pray she doesn't sit in front of you at the movies.

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Re:jection letters: Some 42 years ago, I applied to 9 colleges. I got 8 rejection letters. But I ended up with a Ph.D. from that one.

John Kelly: Does that instill a certain loyalty to that college? I'm strangely ambivalent about Maryland. I lived off campus and worked the whole time I went to school, so I never developed any real attachment to the place.

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College Park: Re: Students viewing porn movie. Students claimed they should have been allowed to watch the movie because their activity paid for the facility. False! The student activity fee is a supplement to money received by the state, money received via tuition, and other income streams. The amount of money brought in by student activity fees would not cover the entire cost of its construction, operation, maintenance, etc. This is just a bad excuse for wanting to watch porn.

John Kelly: Isn't their argument that their money would have paid for the screening, not that it paid for the construction of the Hoff Theatre?

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Laurel, Md.: Mr. Answer Man. I don't know if this is directly related to Meridians or not, but does the fact that my house number is in the 15000's imply that I live about 15 miles from the Ellipse?

John Kelly: A good question. There is a mile marker down near the White House that was meant to be the zero point for measuring distances. But I think that was for the highway system and I don't think it ever caught on anyway. I don't know how that relates to address numbers.

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College rejection: The GMU grad school story reminded me of something. I was waitlisted for grad school at NYU. I got in to my first choice and started classes in August. In October I got a letter from NYU stating that I didn't get in of the waitlist. Um, while I may not be smart enough to go to NYU, I did realize that, since classes had started 2 months earlier, I probably did not make it off the waitlist! :)

John Kelly: I wonder if they were expecting you to send THEM something, as in a letter saying you weren't going there. Which is a ridiculous thing for them to expect. On the flip side, what if you had just started going there? If they sent you a letter two months later you would be like, "NOW you tell me?"

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Calculator: Oh John, you technical ignoramus (though I heart you so don't be mad). You don't have to use the mouse to click the little buttons on the calculator to do your arithmetic for you. You can use the numbers on the right side of your keyboard. Just type what you want and, best of all, the functions are there too. There is a key for plus, minus, multiplication (star button) and division (backslash button). I prefer to use my actual calculator but have no issue using the computer one, since I only use the keyboard. But make sure to remember you have Num Lock on or it will all be for naught.

John Kelly: I've heard that but I don't think it really works. Like, where's the equals sign? I try it every now and then and it always gets screwed up and I got back to my mouse.

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Alexandria, Va.: We all know racism is not dead. My then-boyfriend, now husband, and I were driving from Warner Robins, Ga., to Savannah and I was speeding and got pulled over by the police. I was speeding a lot and it was a correct stop by the police, however I had always been told that you never get out of the car in a situation like that, but they directed me out of the car and to go to the back of the car where they proceeded to ask me if I was okay and if I needed any help. They thought my husband had kidnapped me. Sigh, this was in 2002.

John Kelly: As bad as that was, I imagine it could have been worse if your husband had been driving.

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Dupont Circle, D.C.: I'm wondering why the press didn't do a better job on the pit bull story. On the WJLA Web site were a few more details that made it clear the boyfriend was abusive(to child and dog, probably). He was kicked off the ambulance and left on the side of 295.

John Kelly: YEah, what happened to him? Did the police ever pick him up? The seedy underbelly stores seem to be coming more frequently these days.

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To the former teenage diner: I wanted to point out that rude treatment to teenage diners isn't really comparable with systemic discrimination against black people. Sure, it stinks to be a kid and be treated badly -- it stinks to be treated badly at any time. But, this country treated black people as sub-human for hundreds of years. It's only in the last few decades that things have improved, and there is still work to be done. We shouldn't have such short memories.

John Kelly: I've always been curious about the experience of other cultures that practices slavery. It was common in ancient Egypt, of course, and in the Americas before Columbus arrived. And in the Roman empire. How did slavery break down in those societies and how long did it take for people whose ancestors had once been recognized as chattel to become indiscernible from other citizens? It would make an interesting book.

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Evanston, Ill.: Hey John -- Writing in from sunny Evanston on the beautiful NU campus (your daughter is gonna lovvve it here in the Spring. Winter, though, not so much.) Just an FYI -- we showed "Pirates II" on campus about a month ago. Apparently it's most expensive porn movie ever made. It was a blast. Congrats on becoming a Wildcat dad!

John Kelly: Wait a minute. You show pornography at Northwestern. That's it. My daughter's being home-colleged.

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Bethesda, Md.: I went to a small, liberal, incredibly politically active college in the mid-90s - there were lots of porn showings and very little protesting about them. While we were all well-versed in women's oppression and misogyny and sexism, protest focused on things that were a little bigger -- you know, like protesting the Talib when they first took power and no one was paying attention.

John Kelly: And maybe getting pornography out of the computer and on to the big screen will serve to...I don't know what it will serve to do. I do know that people used to watch it all together in one big darkened room and now they watch it alone hunched over their computer. I'm not sure which is weirder.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: Re: Restaurant Segregation

I can recall riding in my father's car in the early '50s, and noticing a car or two stopped along side of a busy highway between D.C and N.Y. The occupants, always African-American, of the car(s) were having a "picnic." It seemed an odd venue for a picnic, and when I asked my parents why they were doing that. I was horrified when they informed me that it was a necessity because blacks were not served in most restaurants. There is some irony here, because we never ate in the Howard Johnsons Restaurants at the rest stops on the N.J. Turnpike. Because we were a family of twelve, we sat on the curb in the parking lot eating the sandwiches and Kool-Aid my mother had packed for the trip. We could not afford to eat in the restaurant. Financial segregation?

John Kelly: Warren Brown has written about this in the past, and about how African American families had to be mindful of where they COULD stop. It's an indicator of how--on top of everything else--how fatiguing racism is, how much energy is expended both in practicing it and in navigating it.

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Chantilly, Va.: OK, this was probably very immature, but when I got wait-listed at Tufts, they sent me a card asking whether I wanted to stay on the wait list, and if not, what school I would be attending.

I wrote back, "Johns Hopkins -- HA HA!"

True story. The nerve of those losers. LOL

John Kelly: I wonder if they open those cards with gloves on, or X-ray them first. I imagine there are some pretty angry respondents.

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In October I got a letter from NYU stating that I didn't get in of the waitlist.: Not to be too nitpicky, but they could have deferred you to second semester. I applied late to Delaware and they accepted me for second semester. I passed. Now I am a proud Pitt Panther.

John Kelly: Go Panthers!

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In re College Park: College Park said student's fees didn't go to construct the theater. That's true. I think what College Park means, though, is that the measly few dollars each student is billed per semester does not mean they can engage in what the Supreme Court calls lewd and lascivious behavior. The University of Maryland is a public entity. If we were talking about a private school, state funds wouldn't be up for debate, but you can bet the rectors of that private university would weigh in.

John Kelly: I just think with all the concerns in the world the Maryland legislature decreeing that a dirty movie can't be shown TO ADULTS on a university campus is kinda stoopid.

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Washington, D.C.: Forty years ago I applied to one college, got accepted, got some money, stayed seven years, got two degrees. My daughter (not granddaughter) has been accepted at 10 colleges so far, but I can't get her to keep her room passable. She thinks that the floor is a storage area.

John Kelly: Ha! Ten colleges? I assume she's only going to go to one. She'll make a few wait-list people happy.

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Alexandria, Va.: Loyalty to school: I show great pride for my undergrad alma mater. I even show pride for the state university where I grew up, even though I didn't attend it (but my parents did).

I do not, however, have any loyalty for my grad school. I don't live on campus, and my classes are off-campus. I don't even have a student ID because the office that issues them is only open four days a week during regular business hours and I work full time. Once I'm done with this degree, I'll never look back!

John Kelly: And now I feel loyalty to Oxford even though I didn't get a degree from there. But that's because I'm a sappy Anglophile.

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NoLo, D.C.: I went to Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., way back in the late 80s. We had a midnight showing of John Waters's Pink Flamingos at the student union. If you can get away with showing that, I don't imagine there's much you shouldn't be able to show at a non-required function at a student union!

John Kelly: And that was even in the Ed Meese years. See, what gets me about this Maryland thing is it just smacks of -ism. I can't think which -ism right now. School marmism?

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Bethesda, Md.: Best line in the article -- "Students have been wanting to show a triple-X movie for some time, and she was waiting for one that wasn't too violent or degrading, one that had a plot."

Um, really?!

John Kelly: I do think the rise of these "sex columnists" in college publications is sort of laughable. They seem to go out of their way to titillate. But I don't think I would ban them. Let them be embarrassed 20 years from now.

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Silver Spring, Md.: My Spanish professor in college (an ex-Jesuit priest at that) showed us an X-rated film version of La Celestina as part of our Spanish Lit class.

I was notorious for sneaking into class about 10 min late as my previous class was on the other side of campus. Imagine my horror when I opened the door to see a full frontal nude sex scene projected on the wall!

He stopped it and replayed it, telling us to make notes of the "liberties" the screenwriter had taken with the text.

Yeah, right.

John Kelly: As an ex-priest he was probably making up for lost time.

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RE: UCSB: The mascot is the Gaucho. It's a South American cowboy. Adios, Muchacho.

John Kelly: Is that true? If so, muchos gracias.

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She'll make a few wait-list people happy. : I need some people to pass on SUNY Purchase and DePaul so my cousin gets in. Can you spread the word?

John Kelly: Consider it done.

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Del Ray, Va.: When my daughter applied to undergraduate colleges she was accepted to four schools but not Yale. When she was accepted for grad school to five schools including Yale, she told me "Time for some payback!" and promptly signed the acceptance to Princeton.

John Kelly: Hah! There is a god.

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Pirates Have a Lot of Sex ?: BTW,

According to the movie, there are a lot more girl pirates than you may have imagined.

John Kelly: I believe they're called "pirettes."

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Columbia, Md.: I was a student at GW in the 90s, and there were at least three public showings of adult films. One of them was from a feminist director, and was (supposedly) very female-positive. We also showed the John Wayne Bobbit film. I just don't see what the big deal is.

John Kelly: The message that seems to be being sent is: We're politicians and we're the boss of you.

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Baltimore, Md.: "Pirates have a lot of sex." If you read the historical accounts of piracy which was, ahem, almost exclusively an all-male profession, much of the sex was not of the hetero variety. Or as Winston Churchill once famously said about seadogs working for the Crown: "Do you know what built the British Navy? It was rum, sodomy and the lash." (Title of a great Pogues album, incidentally;)

John Kelly: My favorite pirate story involves the pirates who captured a young Julius Caesar and held him for ransom. He kept telling them that when he was released he would come back and crucify them. They laughed him off. A relative paid his ransom, Caesar got some boats together, went back and found the pirates and crucified them all. He was a man of his word.

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Crotchety Old Man: Why back when I was in college we occupied administration buildings and plotted revolution there. Now all these young whippersnallers do is drink and watch dirty movies. (Ah, to be young again).

John Kelly: How'd that revolution work out for ya?

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College Park, Md.: Don't tell the legislature but kids are looking at porn on computers in the university's library too.

John Kelly: That's kind of gross, actually. Despite the hot librarian stereotype, sex and study carrels do not mix.

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Atlanta, Ga.: John Kelly: One reader sent me a suggestion: Print the comics on top of each other, one half in red ink, the other in blue ink, then give readers those 3-D glasses.

Reminds me of someone I knew in college. He had a physics exam he was studying for -- you could bring in a 'cheat sheet' that was one index card. He wrote formulas in blue and in red, one on top of the other, and had some way of reading them (I guess 3D glasses). He spent SO MUCH TIME putting that card together...

John Kelly: I hope he was able to pass his test, given the pounding headache that he no doubt developed.

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What if..: ..the students at Terrapin Station hosted a porn-a-thon(g) in order to "raise" money for charity?

Would that pass muster with the old fogies in government in Maryland? That would be hard to turn down, yes?

After all, it's about Charity. And Chastity. And Hope. And the other pirate girls.

John Kelly: I believe I just felt my timbers shivering.

That's all we have time for today. Thanks for stopping by. If it's raining where you are, stay dry. Enjoy the weekend.

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