John's Videos   |  Blog   |   Contact John  |   Reunions   |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed

John Kelly's Washington

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
John Kelly
Friday, April 9, 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.<br><br>Today: John talked about the people and places he wrote about this week, from a car nut obsessed with the 1972 Cherry Blossom Parade to the odd graffiti that has sprouted on the roof of the Washington Coliseum.<br><br>

_______________________

John Kelly: s tracking down as much as he can about the special Mustang convertibles Ford made for the 1972 parade.Do dogwoods and azaleas inspire such devotion?I heard from others who remember various automotive aspects of the Cherry Blossom Parade. One woman remembers when her father, who worked for Ford, supplied pickup trucks for the parade. Yep, the princesses rode in pickups. Another person has a 1967 Cutlass convertible that rolled down the parade route. s s story in Politics Daily about the festival, which includes this tasty morsel:In the name of research, I tracked down another former princess, who for obvious reasons did not wish to be identified after relating her adventures. "I slept with my escort, I surely did. It was the '70s for God's sake. And my brother, who wasn't even an escort but loved the idea of 50 single women all in one place, slept with the princess from -------." Share your cherry blossom memories. (Keep it clean, please.) (Dude, what were you smoking?)Any news from the West? Time to get started....

_______________________

Nuclear Security Summit: Is it just me or does the Washington Convention Center seem like a goofy place to host a summit of world leaders discussing nuclear security? Is there a trade show involved? Doesn't it seem like this is the kind of thing that should take place in that bunker under the Greenbriar?

John Kelly: I thought the same thing. Are they going to walk around with name badges on, filling their tote bags with giveaways: a Northrup-Grumman highlighter, a Lockheed-Martin lanyard, a UN Committee for Nuclear Non-Proliferation Koosh ball?

_______________________

Bill Treanor: Does Bill Treanor really want a girlfriend?? I'd like to talk with him. JRB

John Kelly: Send me a note and I'll pass it on to him (kellyj@washpost.com). Bill didn't tell me to put that in--and he was probably horrified by it--but he did say it and I like to make people happy. If I can help a guy find a gal, why not?

_______________________

Metro: There was another fire at Metro center this morning at the end of rush hour. Does Metro ever think about cleaning up the trash along the tracks?

John Kelly:

_______________________

John Kelly: I'm sitting here with an open container of World Market peanut butter-filled pretzels. My challenge: To keep from eating them all during this chat.

_______________________

Family photo: I don't know what the odds are for the next generation, considering that Breanna's pic didn't make it into the online version of the Post.

John Kelly: Yeah, I sent a note to our tech folks and everything. I guess they thought two generations were enough.

_______________________

Pretzels: Why have them if you're challenging yourself not to eat them? Enjoy, I say!

John Kelly: Seven grams of fat per serving. 10 pretzels per serving. It adds up.

_______________________

Rockville, Md.: Summit: How many people are attending this summit? Why isn't held in a more isolated place?

John Kelly: I haven't actually seen a number for attendees. The operative figure seems to be 40, as in 40 heads of state. That makes it a security nightmare, which makes it a commuting nightmare, even if those 40 heads of state didn't each have their own entourages. A good time to leave D.C.!

_______________________

Photos: Well, it's not like the kid isn't going to be around for another opportunity (hopefully!) Wouldn't it be better if she got her photo in all versions of the paper in 2012, when the 100th Cherry Blossom Festival comes around? I'd say that's worth waiting for.

John Kelly: She was in the paper, just not online, for some reason. And say what you will about the obsolescence of newspapers, most people would still prefer to cut out a newspaper article they're in than print out a Web mention.

_______________________

My kingdom for a third track: I was caught in that Red Line delay this morning. As we sat at Judiciary Square for 20 minutes I stared out the window and thought about how much better this system would have been if only they had thought to include a third track to allow trains to bypass problem areas.

John Kelly: Yup. And there's no going back now. What was it about civic leaders in cities such as New York, Boston and London that allowed them to mount huge public building programs to create subways that go practically everywhere? I suppose they've always been much bigger (and older) cities.

_______________________

NEW WMATA GM: With all the cracked rails on the REDLINE, and this morning fire (also on The REDLINE) when are we gonna stop blaming Catoe (Metro's former GM who retired last Friday) for the METRO mess, and start blaming the new TEMP WMATA GM for the shambles that METRO is in? (what is his name, anyways??)

John Kelly: The new interim general manager is Richard Sarles. We should give him a little honeymoon, shouldn't we?

_______________________

Cherry Blossom Rules: Doesn't the Park Service ask that cherry blossom visitors NOT touch the tress, or have I made this up? I saw so many people shaking the branches to get the blossoms to "snow" for a photo-op, or putting their kids in the limbs so they could climb..

John Kelly: Yes, visitors shouldn't molest the trees. On Saturday I was at Hains Point, stuck in traffic that sludged around Ohio Drive. I pulled up alongside a group of teenaged tourists who were grabbing branches and wrenching them back and forth, not for a pretty effect (which it was) but to cover each other with blossoms. I wanted to yell something at them, but the traffic moved forward.The Post is actually careful not to print photos of people touching/climbing trees, lest we be seen to be encouraging it.

_______________________

Cherry Blossom memories: My cherry blossom memories go back to the time between 2001 and 2005, when my car was always due for inspection at the DC DMV in early April. Regardless of the time of day, it took me forever to get from Cleveland Park down to Southeast because of all of the cherry blossom traffic.

John Kelly: It took me more than hour last Saturday to go from Hains Point to the Lincoln Memorial. Luckily I was in a good mood. The solution is to walk but I didn't feel like walking from Silver Spring. And I didn't think it would be that bad at 7:30 a.m. Boy, was I wrong.

_______________________

Follow-up to last week's discussion on spirit of sacrifice: Today's "Media Watch" has an interesting item about how many people want government spending cut but don't want to lose any programs, except for possibly foreign aid, which of course, helps other people (while all of us worked hard to become Americans-- oh, yeah, nearly all of us are Americans merely through an accident of birth).

John Kelly: We're an odd bunch us Americans: Certain forms of communal activity strike us as socialistic or totalitarian, like North Koreans performing in stadiums. But we also value groups that volunteer or pull together. We think Neighborhood Watch is a good idea, but we're creeped out by people who pry too much into our business. Would we be willing to take on some of the services provided by the government--cleaning our streets and sidewalks, say--if it would save money?

_______________________

Driving Perils: I've almost had two accidents doing this and I've only been here 4 months. Why the hostitlity to lane changers? Do they just not want anyone in front of them, even if they're tyring to exit?

John Kelly: There is a school of thought that believes you shouldn't use your turn signal because that just telegraphs your intent, inviting people to do what you've described: block you. There are some of, however, who are in favor of turn signal usage. In fact, I confess that often when I see someone not using a turn signal trying to get into my lane, I will speed up a little. But if they are using a signal, I will back off and let them in.Why do so many people "block" other drivers? Probably for the reasons you mention. Is it not like this where you came from?

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: No questions today, but I saw your Tweet saying you didn't want to have to talk to yourself. So Hello! I hope you have a nice weekend.

John Kelly: And people say Twitter is useless. Thanks! You too.

_______________________

FREEDOMVILLE USA: Brrrr, it's freezing outside. What happened since yesteday?Well, John, what's on your agenda for the weekend. Why fun plans?

John Kelly: I know. Who forgot to pay the heating bill? This is one weird year, weatherwise. Five feet of snow in February. Ninety degrees in April. And what about all that green precipitation coating everything?Fun plans? I don't know. I get so consumed by the week that I often forget to do anything on the weekend. What's worse, when the weekend is over, I forgot what I've done. I've been taking Italian every Wednesday and one of the questions our teacher always asks us is how we spent our fine settimana--weekend. Half the time I honestly can't remember. I usually make something up involving drinking wine. Io ho bevuto molto vino.

_______________________

The Supremes: I saw in an earlier post a (whimsical?) speculation that Secretary Clinton could be nominated to the Court, and "sail through" the confirmation process, but I havn't yet seen your name mentioned. Isn't that proof that you will be the nominee, since the White House wants to keep it secret? I had my money on Judge Judy, but I think you just might be the one.

John Kelly: I do look good in black. It's slimming. (He said, reaching for another peanut butter-filled pretzel.)

_______________________

Never a good time: I have come to the conclusion that there is never a good time to drive anywhere in this area. I read that over the next 20 years, the D.C. metro population will increase 20 percent. That is another million on top of the already suffocating crowd. Where will we put them all? I, for one, am not sticking around to find out -- I'm leaving this year. Will you stick around for the pandemonium, John?

John Kelly: Leave, and miss all the fun?I have sometimes driven though little towns two or three hours outside of Washington--while antiquing, say--and wondered if I could live there. They have neat Victorian houses with wraparound porches and sidewalks and a tiny, desperate "downtown." I think about how nice it would be to walk everywhere, to not have to sit in traffic. I think about how with a broadband connection you can get almost anything these days. But then I worry that I would get bored: no museums, no theater, no concerts. Maybe the town would have a small, tightknit creative class of likeminded people I would become friends with. Maybe it would be reminiscent of "Deliverence." All I know is, I haven't moved yet.

_______________________

"Do dogwoods and azaleas inspire such devotion?": And in Pennsylvania, mountain laurels do.

John Kelly: Lilacs smell like old ladies and mountain laurels don't even have flowers. (Do they?)Cherries! Cherries! Cherries! USA! USA!

_______________________

block you: John, I'm from England, and I've lived on both sides of the U.S . as well as in the middle, and this area is the ONLY place I've encountered the block you attitude to drivers signaling when they want to change lanes. As far as I can see, it's all about 'me first' -- if I get to the next intersection half a microsecond before you, I win. I've come to think of this as a quintessential Washington attitude -- since no one here really makes anything, you have to measure success by having a longer phone call with the asst under secretary, or have your memo read by a general and not a major, and so on.

John Kelly: I don't doubt that we do it here--I mean, I see it all the time--I just wasn't sure it was unique to us. You're saying it is. You have an interesting theory. I think it must be subconscious--not the theory but the practice. And of course you're right about the outcome: By blocking someone we ensure that we arrive 1.5 seconds earlier.

_______________________

Would we be willing to take on some of the services provided by the government--cleaning our streets and sidewalks, say--if it would save money?: To answer your question, I think this past year's snow told us that the answer is a resounding no--at least we wouldn't do so consistently. Even when it was clear that the local and state government was overwhelmed with snow removal, I heard a lot of people just complain about how long it was taking to get dug out. I know that not everyone is able to do this, but an awful lot of those folks could have gotten together with neighbors and dug themselves out in the same amount of time, which is exactly what my neighborhood did. So it doesn't inspire me with confidence.

John Kelly: The end result is the same, it's the means that people disagree on.

_______________________

"mountain laurels don't even have flowers. ": Of course they have flowers. Have you never been out in the country when they're in bloom? They're one of our most beautiful native shrubs! Get out onto Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway and see for yourself. Google "kalmia latifolia" for some pretty cultivars (although I prefer the native species).

John Kelly: "Cultivar"? I saw that movie, though the 3-D glasses gave me a headache.

_______________________

Three hours away: John, I think it's many Washingtonians' fantasy to own a home in some outlying area like the Eastern Shore, Pennsylvania or West Virginia and maintain a cheap apartment in or just outside the city to occupy just during the work week.Do you know anyone who actually makes this work and earns less than $200k?

John Kelly: I don't know anyone who makes it work in any fashion. But what I sometimes ponder is just doing the first half of that: Living out there and not having a cheap apartment here. But that would mean not working here. That would mean not earning here. There's a whole domino effect.

_______________________

Dogwoods: Dogwoods are the "Cherry Blossoms" of Atlanta. When I lived there, the bloom rarely cooincided with the festival, however.

John Kelly: This year's cherry blossoms coincided somewhat with the festival, though not with the parade, which is tomorrow. At least there won't be a traffic jam on the parade route.

_______________________

"I didn't think it would be that bad at 7:30 a.m.": Ha. When I was in junior high in Alexandria, my father, a federal employee, would wake us up early on a weekday so he could take us to see the cherry blossoms at their peak before we went to school.

John Kelly: That sounds lovely. My older daughter was in town for spring break but we never had a chance to get down. Luckily, she saw them from her plane as it took off from National.

_______________________

Turn Signals: John, I too follow the "if you use a signal, I'll let you in" frame of mind. I don't like drivers that just start coming in without any signal they were planning to do so. I've had to slam on the brakes and nearly cause an accident because of these drivers. And I am the same one who hates the people in the 3rd Street tunnel trying to force their way in at the last moment. This may be what the OP is seeing. He is zooming to the end and then wondering "Why don't they let me in?" Well, now you know!

John Kelly: Where I often see people speed up after I've put a signal on is on the Beltway and I-95. Traffic may be heavy but it isn't bumper to bumper. We're all moving at a pretty good clip. But somethign about the act of putting on a turn signal hardens some drivers' hearts.

_______________________

From a Small Town: I'm from a small town on the West Coast; transplanted to the D.C. area by my own foolish choice. All I can say is, you're either a small town kind of person, or a city kind of person. If you think you'll miss theaters and museums, and take out...stay in the city. If you don't mind keeping to yourself and not having a lot of distractions, then small towns are great. I'd love to go back home someday, but my husband is a city guy, so I don't know if that will happen. He would get bored in a small town, where I would be perfectly happy.

John Kelly: I like the idea of a nice historic house for not a lot of money. But I also like takeout. I think the two must be mutually exclusive.Say, speaking of big cities: The Rosslyn business improvement district recently put this headline on the cover of its magazine: "Rosslyn--Manhattan on the Potomac." I want to test that principle. What should I try to do in Rosslyn that you might think I could only do in Manhattan?

_______________________

UK Digital Economy Bill: As a former(?) BritNews rounder-upper and someone interested in new media, have you been following the course of this bill, which, according to my (admittedly biased) sources, would skew copyright protection heavily in favor of old media conglomerates and against the free transfer of information online?

John Kelly: I haven't been following this. I know they have some weird media laws over there. It's very easy to sue for libel and the media can be muzzled over what they call contempt. It makes it hard to write about a lot of stuff. As a person who creates content and likes getting paid for it, I think I'm kind of into copyright protection.

_______________________

La bella lingua!: Are you by any chance taking your Italian classes at Casa Italiana? They are the best. Such nice people and such wonderful accents. Bravo, Giovanni!

John Kelly: Si. Io sono. Ma non studio.

_______________________

Driving Perils: This is not the only area that has drivers speeding up when one uses a turn signal. Connecticut and Massachusettes drivers do the same thing.

John Kelly: Worst drivers I've ever encountered: Boston. Worst parkers, too. Parking spaces and meters are mere suggestions.

_______________________

Town v. City: A nice historical house for not too much money is not incompatible with take-out. Move to Baltimore. You can have both, plus much more, including relatively easy access to D.C.

John Kelly: I think that would be like a Virginian moving to Maryland. Matter and anti-matter.

_______________________

Try to do in Rosslyn that you might think I could only do in Manhattan?: Get take-out delivery at like midnight/1AM.

John Kelly: Or an egg creme. I always associate New York City with egg cremes, though I've no idea what they are. I guess I better go to Manhattan first and make sure they have egg cremes. At midnight.

_______________________

What should I try to do in Rosslyn that you might think I could only do in Manhattan?: Almost anything at 3:00 am.

John Kelly: Like an S&M club?

_______________________

Rosslyn = Manhattan????: Find an actual Afghani chef selling bowrani from a walk-up storefront.

John Kelly: How will I know? "Excuse me, I have two questions: Are you Afghan? And is that bowrani? Actually, three questions: What's bowrani?"

_______________________

Manhattan on the Potomac: In the absence of the twin towers, how about somebody stretching a cable between two high-rise buildings in Rosslyn and tightroping from one to the other? Phillipe Potomac?

John Kelly: I like it. And if I bump into Woody Allen making a movie, I'll know I'm in Manhattan.

_______________________

If you think you'll miss theaters and museums, and take out...stay in the city. : Or move to the suburbs, where the museums and theaters are not that far, and you can still get to know your neighbors and walk around.

John Kelly: Well, here I am.

_______________________

Cherry Trees?: John Kelly - the cherry trees are not even from the USA. They are Japanese! Go Redbud Trees!!

John Kelly: I love redbuds. If someone planted 3,000 all together somewhere nearby I'd happily sing their praises.

_______________________

Why I accelerate: I accelerate when there's little room between me and the guy in front but tons of room behind me. A turn signal doesn't give you the right to make an agressive move.

John Kelly: Agreed, but I've often seen a different scenario, where it's clear the person isn't accelerating let the person in behind them, but accelerating to not let them in in front.

_______________________

ME, AGAIN.....FREEDOMVILLE: Well, this weekend, I plan to just snuggle. Maybe, even cook some hot homemade soup. Yummm Italian you say! Heard about the Washington Post's offer of cruises to Italy for 7 days?

John Kelly: Yes, I saw those ads and I'm wondering why I wasn't invited along to lecture on gladiator movies.

_______________________

John Kelly: That's all for today. Thanks for stopping by. It looks like a great weekend is in store for us. Enjoy it.No chat next week, as I'll be in Manhattan, or as it's known, Rosslyn on the Hudson.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company

Discussion Archive

Viewpoint is a paid discussion. The Washington Post editorial staff was not involved in the moderation.

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity