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John Kelly's Washington: Dog poo, sports mascots, naked man redux, Tai Shan, Metro escalators, traffic line cutters, more

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John Kelly
Friday, March 19, 2010; 12:00 PM

Post Metro columnist John Kelly chats about the people and stories that don't make the front pages, plus his latest columns.John chatted about the method behind his March Madness picks, the latest scientific breakthroughs in dog doo DNA and just how awful a husband he is for penning an honest birthday ode to his wife.

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Andrea Caumont: I know the 50 best divorce lawyers in Washington. You deserve the BEST!But what do you really think Betty?Also in the news: Metro's escalators don't work (are we surprised?) and Virginia says hybrids can stay in HOV lanes (hey, those out-of-control Priuses have to go somewhere).

John Kelly: Let's get started....

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Metro Expansion: I remember reading an article back in 2006 about extension of the Metro to BWI Airport -- is that no longer being talked about? Seems like with the expansion of Ft. Meade and the boom of housing between here and there that Metro Maryland would want the extension. (I of course think this should have been done before the purple line).

John Kelly: I found this Baltimore Sun article from 2005 but I don't think I've heard anything recently. There's already MARC service to BWI so while I think Metro should go all sorts of places, I would put an extension to BWI at the bottom of the list, below Dulles, for example.

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Tai Shan Withdraw: John, do you think Tai is getting his freak-on yet? I think it's highway robbery that he was ripped from the clutches of the most powerful nation on this earth. Darn commies!

John Kelly: What's life in China like for Tai Shan? My Facebook friends will have already seen this video of the hijinks pandas can get into over there.

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George Mason Univ - Pres Obama speech on health care: Pres Obama is currently speaking at George Mason University on his administration's health care reform legislation. This bill has over 2700 pages and was just released yesterday on the internet. Why does not this bill address cost containment on hospitals, doctors and health insurance carriers which are the actual drivers of ever increasing cost of health care?

John Kelly: Is that an actual question? If so, I have no idea. Because those groups are so powerful their opposition to such moves would doom the bill?I haven't read all 2,700 pages.

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Musketeers vs Golden Gophers: I'm not sure a Musketeer beats a Golden Gopher. First of all, I'm not sure how to destroy gold. Second of all, those musketeers only know how to fight Disney style so they'll just sing and dance.

Andrea Caumont: Certifiable March Madness: Why not bet on the mascots? (Post, March 18)

John Kelly: These are exactly the sort of existential questions I was pondering as I filled in my brackets. I went for firepower as far as the Musketeers were concerned. But I also thought they would be kind of foppish and totally unprepared for a Gator. Then there's the issue of Demon Deacons. Do you emphasize the demonic aspect, as I did with the Blue Devils, or do you focus on the Baptist part? I went Baptist and figured they'd turn the other cheek and get gored by the Longhorns.

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Guy Drinking Coffee Sans Clothing: I remember an article in the Post not that long ago about a man being charged with indecent exposure for drinking coffee dressed only in his birthday suit in view of the front window. The other day as I streaked past my own front window on the way to the laundry room I wondered how that case turned out. I tried a search but the number of saucy results, none of which had any bearing on the case, has made me leery of trying again.

Andrea Caumont: Man disputes indecent-exposure charge (Post, October 26, 2009)I can't find a follow-up article in our archives about the outcome of the case, but this piece says he was convicted.

John Kelly: According to this article by The Post's Tom Jackman, the naked man was convicted, sentenced to 180 days in jail, suspended for one year, and $72 in court costs. But because the defendant, Erick Williamson, appealed, nothing has happened yet.Streaking past your window is probably okay, but this guy apparently stood there and made eye contact with the people outside.

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About Dog Doo: So my wife took the dog out off the leash the other night for him to go no. 1. He walked off and decided to take a no. 2. Well she is all freaked out about the serial rapist and thought he could be hiding in the woods near the dog's dumping grounds. She yelled for me to go get him thinking he had just ran off and she did not want to chase him. Out I ran to the rescue.On the walk up the condo entrance she said that I should have been careful where I stepped as he had dropped a load up there.I look at my right shoe, clean. I look at left shoe, full load of digested kibble schmeared all over my shoe.What are the chances of running up a huge hill and back down with a dog that I step in that one spot?

John Kelly: It's called karma.I mean, were you going up the hill to get the dog, pick up the poop, or both? If you were gonna leave the poop you were breaking the law, polluting the environment and endangering the shoes of anyone who might walk there. Thus, the god of poop punished you.

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Oxymoronic mascots: Demon Deacons? Really? That may be worse than the U. Penn. Fighting Quakers.

John Kelly: There are some odd nicknames out there. Boilermakers? Racers? Commodores? Spiders?Then again the Richmond Spiders play the St. Mary's Gaels. Is a Gael an Irish person, like from Notre Dame? And what kind of spider? Itsy-bitsy? Brown recluse? Schools really seem to love big cats: tigers, bobcats, wildcats... I think the only cat-on-cat action I saw was Clemson versus Mizzou.

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Woodbridge: What do you think of Natalie Randolph, the new HS football coach? I mean, yay to her, but we don't even have female MLB umps yet, which requires no testosterone whatsoever.

Andrea Caumont: 'Diva' has a new job description: Head coach, high school football (Post, March 11)

John Kelly: Does being a football coach require testosterone? I think it requires skill: strategy, communications, inspiration. Coaches come in all kinds of flavors, from chair-throwing, neck vein-popping screamers to quiet technicians. The proof, of course, will be in the won/loss record. If she does well, no one will care. I wonder if the screenplay is already being written.

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$10 Giveaways: John,Interesting picture of the guy giving $10 to the street musician. If you focus on just the musician, it's an almost perfect mirror image of the cover of Nashville Skyline.

Andrea Caumont:

John Kelly: Boy, it really is, isn't it? Here's a link to the Dylan album.

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Ugly Betty: Wow...Betty, better get back on the Xanax.John, after last night's Georgetown loss I only have one alma mater left in the tourney. Please tell me the Terps will fare better!

John Kelly: I would like for my alma mater to win, but I have to be true to my concept. While a terrapin can pull in its limbs and protect its vital organs with its hard shell, I don't see a turtle lasting that long against a cougar. Thus, I picked Houston.

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Tai Shan: Eep...I'm a little worried the Chinese will treat pandas like they do tigers. There was a recent article about 12 captive tigers that died, and the facility was being investigated to see if they were overbreeding for illegal blackmarketing of tiger parts, as is apparently common. How terrible! We should send in the military to do an extraction of all endangered animals in China!

Andrea Caumont: March 12)

John Kelly: Yeah, supposedly those tigers starved to death. They'd reportedly been fed "cheap chicken bones." But you have to wonder if they zookeepers were hoping the tigers might kick it, given how valuable tiger bits are.

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Venting: John, as you are the ventor of all things rude around here, I want to put in my two cents about something that drives me bonkers. I cannot stand it when drivers see a line going off an exit or ramp somewhere and decide they are simply too important to wait in it and zoom all the way to the front and then force their way in. How is this civil in any way? I think you said traffic engineers say it is better if we just let them in. How so? They are the cause of the backups. If they were in the line, the traffic could actually move, but we have to wait to let these idiots in. I have a policy of not allowing them in and one woman actually drove over a MEDIAN to try to force her way in front of me. I still didn't allow it and think these people deserve their lesson of blocking traffic and being honked at from people behind them. Thanks for the forum.

John Kelly: Traffic engineers sing the praises of the "zipper." That is when, say, three lanes go down to two. The idea is not for everyone to get out of the soon-to-disappear lane at once but to alternate vehicles. The reason is capacity: You want to use the existing capacity as long as possible, and that means utilizing the empty road before it disappears. I happen to be the kind of driver who immediately gets out of the lane that's ending, but I try to let at least one person in.I agree, though, that people who nip over at the last minute can be annoying.

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Betty from Alexandria: John: Re her response to your column on your wife's birthday, I can only quote Jamie Lee Curtis to Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda: "Calling you stupid is an insult to stupid people."Seriously, that was a lovely, lovely column and it really does sound like you lucked out in both the wife and in-law departments.

John Kelly: Thank you, I did.There's another good line from "A Fish Called Wanda." I think it goes: Otto (Kevin Kline) asks "Why did you name your daughter after a car?" The girl's name? Portia.

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Demon Deacons? Really? That may be worse than the U. Penn. Fighting Quakers. : Hey, there were some pretty Demon Deacons among our founders. Cotton Mather was no slouch in the hellfire dept, and Jonathan Edwards never got to actually finish preaching his sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" because he scared the congregation so badly they all screamed and fainted.

John Kelly: It's an interesting juxtaposition, isn't it? Demon with Deacon. The sacred with the profane. I guess Jimmy Swaggart would know all about that.

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St. Patty's Day: John, did you have a good St. Patrick's Day? Always one of my favorite holidays. I'm part Irish (but look 100%), love corned beef and green is my favorite color. Did you see the article on the worst Irish stereotypes in film? It's pretty funny and was on your colleague's blog earlier this week. Did you see these kind of stereotypes while in England? I don't know for sure that they still look down on the Irish but have a strong suspicion of it. Oh and what do you think of Guiness? Haven't had it myself but hear it is only for the strong of heart.

John Kelly: A very boring St. Patrick's Day, I'm afraid. I've had a pesky cold for a couple of weeks and just started on some antibiotics, so though I had a fridge full of beer I couldn't partake. I love a good Guinness and visiting the factory (actually a big theme park) was the highlight of our trip to Dublin a few years ago. You wanna know a weird stereotype in England: people with red hair. They're called "Gingers" there and the word is almost an epithet. It's not unusual for red-haired people to be assaulted by thugs, just because of their hair. Weird, huh?

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11 of 16: So far, and my 5 losers I had losing what would've been their next game anyway so my Sweet 16 is still unaffected! After watching Villanova play however, I'm doubtful they will reach the final 4 I put them in.

John Kelly: Congratulations. And on what did you base your picks? Nothing so pedestrian as on-court skill and previous records, I hope.

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mascot names: In Richmond, we just got the Flying Squirrels! And we're gonna be NUTS for Nutzy, the mascot!

Andrea Caumont: Richmond Flying Squirrels

John Kelly: You're not allowed to say "nuts" anymore. You have to say, "We're gonna be chemically unbalanced for Nutzy." Also: You'll have to change his name, perhaps, Simon, the Manic-Depressive Flying Rodent.

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Bored at work: John, what are your favorite apps for your iphone/itouch? If you don't have either, ignore.

John Kelly: Don't have an iPhone, but our contract with Verizon is up. They're eager to get us to re-up for another two years. I told them I was thinking about an iPhone and they said, "We have the Droid! It's even better!" Is it?

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Dogs and escalators: I'm sure dogs are fine animals but with two small kids it sounds like more logistics (and poop!) to manage. Do I have any chance of holding out against eager spouse and kids?I love it that Metro's head of escalators won't talk to the press and basically has said that keeping the escalators working is HARD. (the escalators are underdesigned and of an obsolete design but that doesn't stop us from rebuilding them to their original specifications every three years! )If you think a job cannot be done, get out of the way and let someone else do it. We always hear that the only place with longer escalators than Metro is the Moscow subway; let's get some Russian escalators installed - and if they break down we will send the managers to Siberia.Seriously, if you have any tricks to getting me out of this dog thing, I'm all ears.

John Kelly: Spouse and kids want a dog? The only thing that's gonna save you is an allergy. Slip 100 bucks to the allergist and maybe he'll agree to cook the books.

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Rosslyn Metro: Do you watch Human Target? Got a good laugh during this week's episode, part of which took place track-side in the "Rosslyn Metro."If only Metro stops looked that nice! And the place was crawling with armed Metro police officers, to boot.

Andrea Caumont: FOX Broadcasting Company: Human Target

John Kelly: The best example of that is "No Way Out," with Kevin Costner. I seem to remember that he runs into a Metro station, boards a Baltimore (I think) subway car and then emerges in Georgetown, where there isn't a station.WMATA doesn't usually give permission to film in the system. Perhaps they should reconsider: Charge a fortune and let Hollywood make the next zombie movie down there.

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He walked off and decided to take a no. 2. Well she is all freaked out about the serial rapist: I don't want the lady to run into a rapist, but it bothers me that she cares not about breaking the leash law or inconveniencing her neighbors when they step in poo.

John Kelly: Yup. Perhaps we can employ surplus Predator drones.

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I'm shocked!: You picked Houston over MD? John, John, John....what are we going to do with you? You do know that the average lifespan of a turtle is far greater than a cougar, right?

John Kelly: But how often do the two species interact? I'm on uncharted ground here. Sure, I could go to China and watch a regularly-scheduled cougar/terrapin death match, but I don't have the time.

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St. Paddy's Day redux: Which last name is more Irish: Kelly or Kelley?

John Kelly: It depends on whether you think Protestants can be Irish. I always heard that Kellys were Roman Catholic, Kelleys Protestant. Apparently that sort of thing matters over there.

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How Will The End Of Print Journalism Affect Old Loons Who Hoard Newspapers?: Check out this YouTube video:How Will The End Of Print Journalism Affect Old Loons Who Hoard Newspapers?

John Kelly: Exactly! What will we use to line our bird cages? And pick up our dog poop? And stuff in our clothes when we're homeless? Subscribe today!

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re Venting: Totally agree. People do this on foot too (say, when there's a logjam at a Metro escalator going up from the platform). When driving, I'll let someone in who obviously made a mistake and got in the wrong lane, or who is patiently waiting to "zipper," but I will do whatever I safely can to avoid rewarding a self-centered jerk.Oh, and to you people who think you're being nice and considerate by letting that person in: do you think you've been considerate to the people BEHIND you? No, you haven't. (Again, it's like the guy on the Metro the other day who thought he was being considerate by letting just about everyone exit the car before him -- except that I was stuck behind him and nearly missed the bus I needed to catch. Yeah, thanks a lot, dude. I really needed that long panicked run up the escalator.)

John Kelly: Often when I complain in print or online about people who don't stand to the right on the escalator (when it's working), someone will say, "Oh you're so uptight. Relax. Don't be such a Washington prig. What difference does it make?" Well the difference may be in my getting to my bus. If I'm stuck behind you on a long escalator I can miss my train. Miss my train and depending on the time of day it might be 17 minutes till the next one.

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Metro Escalators: I could be wrong, but I think the Friendship Heights "Jenifer Street" exit is the only Metro stop that only has elavators, and no escalators (the Western Ave. side has escalators). I wonder why they don't install more elevators (which they're also always working on). It's got to be cheaper than the constant rebuild of the escalators. And what's worse, when they have one escalator down for repair and the other one not moving so people can go up and down, the open escalator always gets dirty and full of junk...they never clean them, so when they start up again, all that junk gums up the works...oops, that's another escalator to repair.

John Kelly: The Forest Glen Metro only has elevators. They can be annoying too. They come all at once for some reason.

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It sounds to me that you dislike women in general. : Just wanted to counter this nastygram with a hearty thank you for your paean to your lovely wife. Betty from Alexandria sounds seriously humor-impaired (Just FYI, I"m female too).

John Kelly: Thanks. Another reader wrote that it sounded as if I made my wife wear a burka and walk three steps behind me. As if!

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re. venting: John, I couldn't agree more with the previous venter. He or she isn't necessarily referring to the zipper though. Rather, the cheaters who continue in the far right lane, ignoring the people who are already on the off-ramp and cutting over at the very last minute. It is so incredibly frustrating to me that these people think they are so much better than the rest of us that they don't have to wait.

John Kelly: Then there's this: People who nip in front or behind you when you're waiting to make a left-hand turn. Happened to me this morning. I couldn't see whether the coast was clear--because of people in oncoming traffic waiting to turn left blocking my view--but two cars nipped behind me to make the left. Again, a Predator drone seems like the only answer.

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re: Streaking past your window is probably okay,: I also hope standing by your 2nd floor apartment kitchen window in your tighty whities with the blind not quite down all the way is okay. The guy across the alley from me used to do this and it was a great source of entertainment. I hate to think whoever moved into my apartment isn't also enjoying this view.I always wanted to find out who he was to let me know that just because he couldn't see us didn't mean we couldn't see him. Pull the blinds down ALL the way. But then, the fun would have been ruined.

John Kelly: He's probably an Internet star in Kazhakstan or something.

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You'll have to change his name, perhaps, Simon, the Manic-Depressive Flying Rodent.: Excuse me, please, Manic-Depressive is no longer used. Simon would be the Bipolar Flying Rodent.

John Kelly: Ah, thank you. I cant' keep up with the latest nomenclature.

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Friends Dog poop: I was at a buddy's house and he asked me to take the dog out for a poop. I did, thought about a bag, and decided if I wanted to clean up dog poop I wouldn't have gotten a cat. So now there's poop outside his house. And I'm okay with it.

John Kelly: He should have made it clear to you what the task entailed. It's like asking someone to watch your baby: You sort of expect them to change the dirty diaper.

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College mascots: Yo, my college mascots are the Battling Bishops. You'll never see them in the NCAA, though, because they're strictly third division.Liked your column about your wife. I don't know what column Betty read, but yours was a nice tribute.

John Kelly: I love those contradictions: Battling Bishops, Demon Deacons. It's like Toll-Painting Vikings.

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re: Droid: Yes, it is better. When I was showing my co-worker the phone, she kept saying "wow, my iPhone doesn't do that!" And, unlike the iPhone-3G, you don't have to turn off 3G access in order for the phone to work reliably.

John Kelly: I'm sort of in the tank for lots of Apple stuff, though. I'm typing this on a MacBook, with my iPod nearby, while wearing a charcoal gray mock turtlneck.

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Beyond dog poop: I agree folks should clean up after their dogs (and I do). Now that the weather has turned nice, in addition to folks not cleaning up after their dogs, every day we find another area of the sidewalk/median turned dangerous due to broken glass. Seems to be mostly alcohol. Who are these folks who seem to get their kicks out of shattering bottles on the sidewalks that kids use to walk to school? Although there is one non-p-s in my area who from the evidence has a rather large dog who likes to relieve himself in the middle of the sidewalk who is high on my list of annoying people. (Thanks, I feel much better now)

John Kelly: Glad to have offered you a venting venue.Speaking of bottles: Then there are the people who will leave a totally empty six pack somewhere--in a parking lot, next to a trash can. I guess theyv'e been drinking in their cars, but what I always find so weird is how carefully they insert the empties back in the box. If you're going to that much trouble, why not recycle?

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re: poo hill: the wife was going to pick it up in the morning during daylight. the hill is covered with goose and fox crap. its a fecal mine field out there.

John Kelly: If you say so....Geese are the real problem. Mandatory goose diapers!

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NOT SURE WHY: But every time I look at your web picture I think you really need an ascot with that shirt! :)

John Kelly: Every time I look at it I think I need liposuction.

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RE: Mascot Names: Try the Whittier Poets. I guess a scrimmage against their team would be called a Haiku.

John Kelly: I wonder if their chants are in a sestina rhyme scheme.

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Mascots: You should have separate animal, vegetable, and mineral divisions. For example, the Wichita State University Shockers vs. Delta State University Fighting Okra.Top 10 Bad College Mascots

John Kelly: Or the Okra versus the Artichokes.What's the plural of "Okra" anyway?

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Chipotle for lunch: Should I get a burrito or salad?

John Kelly: You should get a salad but you know you want a burrito.

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Do I have any chance of holding out against eager spouse and kids? : Tell your wife to start reading the home chat on Thursdays. Lots of questions on dealing with dogs peeing on hardwood floors and carpet, and shedding all over the bedding.

Andrea Caumont: Home Front: Choosing paint colors, sprucing up for spring, good china buys, stair risers, best flooring for pets, blank walls, changing bedding, good lighting, more

John Kelly: Back when I edited KidsPost we did an article on how kids could convince their parents to get them a dog. Best suggestion: Make a list of names and leave it somewhere Mom and Dad will see it. it'll break their hearts--and they'll break down.

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WMATA doesn't usually give permission to film in the system.: The Post carried an article on this a few years ago. It seems that WMATA is all wide-eyed horror at the idea that someone might watch a movie and think that it's actually OK to run in a Metro station or jump over a turnstile. Baltimore does not mind this attitude at all, as its subway authorities thinks people can distinguish between the movies and real life, so the movie-makers' bucks go north.

Andrea Caumont: Rail to Reel: Metro Opens Its Doors To Hollywood, as Long as It's Not During Rush Hour (Post, April 1, 2008)

John Kelly: Which is why they won't even say that people should stand to the right on the escalators, since to do so would imply approval of people walking on the left--and the safest thing is for people just to stand on the escalator. OF course, if it's broken, you're going to be standing there for a while.

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OP Venter: Yes, I am referring to when people are off on the ramp or even on the side of the road leading to the ramp. The specific place I am talking about is the 3rd Street tunnel waiting to go up the ramp to get on the SE/SW freeway and then down 395 into Virginia. The rude drivers zoom past in the 2 left lanes and then park right at the concrete divide and force their way in. We have 2 right lanes they could get into but they refuse. It isn't the zipper that is the issue here.

John Kelly: Ah. They just think they're more important than anyone else.

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New Market VA: Street musician ala "Nashville Skyline" . . . . good one! I'm married to a one-time (present , sometimes) street musicians. The successful ones know to keep the image cool and iconic! Mine plays the meanest fife/flute on earth and takes requests!

John Kelly: Another good mascot: The Fighting Fife-Players!

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College Mascots: Eh, my college mascot was the "Piper" as in the "Pied Piper of Hamline." Being from the west coast (and the school was in Minnesota) when I first got there, I though they meant "piper" as in "sand piper" which is a little coastal bird. I didn't put two and two together, since the school name was Hamline.

John Kelly: So there is a flute-based mascot.... Do opposing fans shout, "You guys blow!" Or is that a compliment?

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If print journalism disappear ...: ... do I train Fido to poop on my Kindle?

John Kelly: Exactly. And emptying that trash isn't as easy as clicking on the trash can icon.

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It seems that WMATA is all wide-eyed horror at the idea that someone might watch a movie and think that it's actually OK to run in a Metro station or jump over a turnstile.: We need to rent out the facilities to let actors do unsafe things for movies so that we can get more money for safety upgrades!

John Kelly: Exactly. For bar mitzvahs and bachelor parties too. They need every penny.

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Re: droid: I love my Driod. Only problem is I turned on the 'metal detector' app. Now the plate in my head makes it beep when I answer it.

John Kelly: Remind me not to get in line behind you at the airport.

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Line police: Well, because of people who act like the line police and refuse to let people in, often times it's nearly impossible to get over from the left to the exit on the right. Learn a karmic lesson from the poop-stepper and let people in sometimes.

John Kelly: Most of us can use the occasional karmic refresher: Be nice. Don't descend to other peoples' levels. Don't take the bait. That would solve 90 percent of the problems we encounter in daily life. The remaining 10 percent require harsher measures.

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Metro escalators: Does Metro cannibalize one escalator to fix another? It would explain why an escalator always seems to be broken.

John Kelly: Apparently they have to fabricate new parts from scratch, since the companies that made them originally aren't around anymore. Maybe they should replace the escalators with slides, like at a playground. Going down would be easy, but that would leave the problem of getting back up.

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John Kelly: Thanks for stopping by today. I realize you can spend your Friday afternoons anywhere and so I appreciate your presence, no matter where you're visiting from.Let's do this again next week, shall we? Until then, pick up your poop, drive carefully and Go Mountaineers!


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