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John Kelly
Friday, May 28, 2010; 12:00 PM

Post Metro columnist John Kelly was online Friday, May 28, at Noon ET to chat about the people, places and things that don't get on the front pages, plus his columns.<br><br>Today: There are already alternative spring breaks. Is the world ready for the alternative bachelor party? Share tales of your pre-nuptial festivities and your thoughts on doing good, rather than getting drunk.<br><br>

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John Kelly: those two little letters. It's the difference between dead and undead, though, come to think of it, neither of those are very appealing.All I know is I'm looking forward to pulling out my seersucker and white shoes on Monday. Oh, and I must get some more propane for my BBQ grill. I noticed the other day that I was out. In fact, it was during my video shoot that I noticed it. The video is to entice you to enter our "Washington's 30-Second Summer" contest. Technically, my video was 57 seconds, not 30, but I'm told if you're under a minute you're fine.In columnage this week we met one Erik Pedley, who right now is the target of a jihad by the strippers of America. It's Erik, you'll recall, who decided his bachelor party should feature volunteering at a local elementary school, not passing around a beer bong. What did you do at your bachelor/bachelorette party? Keep it clean, folks.Also this week we met After the Storm, an a cappella singing group that frequently performs in the Metro. Here's a nice video shot by a reader. They can make an awful commute at least bearable. see them literally overshadowed.The (long) weekend is almost here. What's on your mind?

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Memorial Day: In my neighborhood, Memorial Day is the start of pickup BBQ season, when word of mouth BBQ invitations are extended. Later on in the summer you get evites to the themed parties. Now's the time to discover which of your blockmates you cheezed off last winter. Is that laughter behind his high fence? Did I remember to return his snow shovel? Maybe he overheard my great joke about his lawn ...

John Kelly: Why does everyone else's barbecue always smell better than mine? Is it a grass-is-always-greener thing? Is it like how a sandwich made by someone else always tastes better than one you make for yourself, simply because you didn't have to make it? Or is it because I ran out of propane and my meat is still raw?

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Alternate Bachelor party. Also a wedding to remember.: I like the "alternate bachelor party" idea, but why not do the alternate in addition to rather than instead of the traditional bachelor party? Related story: Mike and Yolanda's wedding. Mike's dad led us out on the traditional bachelor party the Friday night before the Saturday wedding. We toasted Mike and Yo with boilermakers -- a shot of whisky with a beer chaser. And then another. And another. No one was counting. The wedding the next day was hot and humid. The guys looked a bit peaked. The mother of the bride was not happy. But we were ambulatory, and the mother of the bride had to admit that was remarkable, given what we had been through. The marriage ceremony got underway. The priest called the wedding party forward. Now the fun began. The best man teetered in the humdity, attempted to remain upright -- and then fainted with a crash. The maid of honor, who was not out drinking with us the night before, nonetheless, as the sight of the best man on the ground, fainted too. The father of the bride, seeing the two bodies on the church floor, stepped forward to help, but he slipped and fell on the slippery church floor. There were now three bodies on the floor. The priest called a time out. Most of us guys made a dash for the water fountains. I remember thinking this will make a good story some day -- but I averted my eyes when I saw the mother of the bride. She apparently preferred a more traditional sort of wedding. This was in 1967, before best American home videos. My friends and I are still in touch. We all agree it was not the usual wedding. Something to think about as you plan your bachelor party. What do you think?

John Kelly: I think this is why you never ever have the bachelor party the night before the wedding. You need some time to recover.

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separated at birth: Have you and Chris Cillizza ever been seen in the same room? Is it true that you are the same person?

John Kelly: We do look sort of similar in some of the photos, but trust me, in real life we look nothing alike. I think they must have used the same camera to shoot both of us and it has some special lens or something.

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N street NW : Did you know that those lovely rowhouses were boardinghouses in the 50s? I lived at l754 for a couple of years 1950-53 second floor front with 2 roomates. The house next door had the dining room and kitchen on othe ,main floor and rented rooms upstairs. I believe I paid araound $60 a month which included breakfast and dinner every day except Sunday.

John Kelly: What a deal! One of the buildings was also a hotel, the Graylyn.

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Bad Link and Memorial Day Question: I've got a couple of small children, two and five years old. Other than a couple of cookouts, what do we do this weekend? What do you remember from holiday weekends when your kids were little? Was it more like a normal weekend, or did you venture out? As long as it's in my power, I will never drive anywhere on a holiday weekend. I can't understand why so many people insist on spending endless hours stuck in traffic. Tooling around the D.C. area, though, isn't a problem.

John Kelly: Good luck tooling around the D.C. area. I don't think you can get anywhere, anytime, anyhow. Still, I applaud your resolve. What about the megaparks? I'm thinking of places like Wheaton Regional Park, with those huge slides, a train and a carousel. Who can recommend some stuff in Virginia?

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Senior prank: So the kid released crickets in the school and Charles County police arrested him? Ok, he did enter after hours but crickets are funny, not bad. We're just too uptight.

John Kelly: How would you have punished him? Leave it up to the school, who could suspend him or not let him graduate with his class? Make him clean up the crickets? Make him pay to clean up the crickets? I'm not sure why there needs to be a senior prank and why a kid would think he could do one without suffering some sort of consequence.Remind me to come over to your office and let something loose.

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Of course, what I meant was "unofficially" begins on Monday: We know what you meant. The mental state of summer officially begins on Monday.

John Kelly: Exactly. But now there's all these kids suing their school systems because I said summer "officially" begins on Monday.

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British Car week: John Ready to get your British car out for the next week? Starts Saturday and runs through Original British Car Day show in Adamstown, Md., on 6/6 God save the MG; the Queen can take care of herself !

John Kelly: I don't have a British car. Unless you count the Mini, which I guess we should, since it was built in Oxford, after all. I used to have an MG (B-GT) but now I have a fake British car: a Datsun roadster. Looks like an MG but actually starts.British Car Day.

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Is it like how a sandwich made by someone else always tastes better than one you make for yourself, simply because you didn't have to make it?: I feel this way about salads. I love a good restaurant salad, but can't stand making them at home. They're always so blah at home.

John Kelly: You're right. Restaurants must add something, like liquified cocaine or something. I try to spice up my salad life--I dress them in garter belts and a push-up bra--but it doesn't help much. And then I have to pick underwire out of my teeth.Although here's something I love: Just a nice wedge of iceberg with some creamy dressing on it. I always laugh when I get that at a restaurant--I just paid 8 bucks for a quarter head of lettuce--but at home it's not bad.

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Wonder Twins, activate!: I just realized that you and Chris Cillizza have the same glasses frames. Are you deliberately trying to look like one another?

John Kelly: Could it be....? Nah.

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Senior Prank: So a kid gets arrested for burglary for climbing through a window and dumping a big box of crickets in the school. I think we have officially gone insane.

John Kelly: Let's think of a creative punishment. How about he has to track down every cricket? For every cricket he can't find, he has to paint a classroom. Or has to collect all the gowns on graduation day. I don't you just laugh and say, "Kids'll be kids!"

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Memorial Day is the start of summer pool season: My kids have been begging me, one last night slipped on her suit and walked in front of the TV.

John Kelly: My Lovely Wife reminds me that Memorial Day is officially (honest!) the start of the summer swim team season. Five and 2 is a little young to start that--well, 2 is anyway. Unless you want your kid to be Michael Phelps. So that's what we did for several years, although it was never really that warm. That was before global warming, though. I think it's supposed to be toasty this weekend.

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Crickets: eat paper and leave a lot of disgusting poop around.

John Kelly: Right, and who wants to be cleaning up after that? What eats crickets? Snakes? The kid should have to wrangle some snakes through school. And if he loses any snakes he should have to get some mongooses (mongeese?) to round them up. It'll teach the knucklehead about the circle of life.

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Reflecting Pool: Off topic - what's up with the reflecting pool on the National Mall? Are they cleaning it or repairing it or what. It looks terrible!

John Kelly: I just called a guy at the park service. He said, "It is empty to collect core samples for a potential construction project."I know what you're thinking: What potential construction project? He said he'd find out and get back to me. He has 37 minutes!What would you build in the Reflecting Pool?

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Bachelor parties: No, they SHOULD be held the night before -- the hangover is part of the wedding day ambience.

John Kelly: I wouldn't know. As I wrote, my bachelor party was stymied by my wife's suspicious stomach bug. Verrry convenient. Could it have been a conspiracy?As my (female) editor noted: What fiancee in her right mind would let the groom go to Amsterdam for his bachelor party?

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D.C. Anthems: I'm curious -- why did you not choose a D.C. school to record these?

John Kelly: I approached Duke Ellington and they said they were too busy to help me. Their loss.

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Circle of life: Just last night I showed my kids a spider in its web in our house. I showed them that it killed some ants. My wife asked the kids "How do you get rid of the spider"? I piped up "Get a snake." My wife says "And you get rid of the snake by getting a wife." And I said "And you get rid of the wife by getting a girlfriend." She wasn't amused. I thought it was great.

John Kelly: And you get rid of the girlfriend by getting some quicklime.

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Blake High School : I think you should have them perform every D.C. song that's a part of your series. I can't wait to hear their rendition of "Washingtron."

John Kelly: Ha! I think "Washingtron" by Tru Fax and the Insaniacs is actually a better song than most about D.C. I have the 45.

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Bachelor Parties: What kind of man agrees to an alternate bachelor party? Please, you either have one or not. Now when I throw a bachelor party each of the invited quests contributes $6k. Yeah $6000 dollars. I get a suite at a top hotel in D..C usually the Ritz. I then get the cater and bartenders and the strippers. I use limo service to pick up the quest no one drives ever. So with approx 20 dudes contributing $6k I usually end up spending $$70 to $80K and rest goes a charity of the groom's choice. No, the strippers do not offer any "extras." Just dancing. Except for 8 young ladies dancing naked nothin' else untoward happens. yeah I have talked to a number of brides to be. I explain to them the deal. Dancers are some of the top talent in the country and get $5k a piece. We are lawyers, lobbyists, buisness owners, etc. In the 25 years I have been doing this for my friends no one has driven home drunk or anything else. No one has been hurt. Could I throw a bachelor aprty with extras? Yeah you bet. But that isn't what the party is for. The dancers are just eye candy. No, my wife doesn't have a problem with this and didn't have a problem with my bachelor party. If a bride to be has problems with a bachelor party and strippers then there will be other control issues in the marriage.

John Kelly: How do I get invited to one of these?! For research purposes only, of course. (Seriously dude, hit me up.)

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Senior Pranks: John, you're Rockville High Class of 78, right?Do you remember that the Gaithersburg class of 77 actually stole a 30x20 foot McDonald's sign and put it on top their school's front entrance? I think it was on the front page of Metro the next day.

John Kelly: No, class of '80. I don't remember any pranks at our school.I do find the hacks that MIT has done pretty funny. The balloon that inflated on the Harvard football field was inspired.

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Memorial Day Concert: Hey, John!Do you know if there's going to be a rehearsal Saturday for the concert Sunday on the Mall? It's always much more fun and less crowded than the real thing.

John Kelly: According to this, there will be a rehearsal Saturday.

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Not a fan of pranks: They always seem to escalate with people trying to outdo one another. And the people who do them never seem able to look ahead to see how their actions are going to affect other people. But releasing crickets does seem pretty harmless as far as pranks go, except that someone has to clean them up. So I'd say make him clean them up. Make him spend a day with the janitors to see what their day is like. Was any school equipment damaged by the cricket infestation? Make him work to pay for it.

John Kelly: That sounds sensible and King Solomon-like. I mean, it's either that or cut him in half.

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but why not do the alternate in addition to rather than instead of the traditional bachelor party?: Gack. NO. We are already inundated with multi-event weddings that seem to go on for months and the bridesmaids are complaining about how many parties they're expected to go to as well as host. My knee jerked so hard at the phrase "in addition to the traditional party" that I think I dislocated it.

John Kelly: I take it you're a fan of elopement?

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No astronoimical Summer Start June 21: Real summer starts June 1.

John Kelly: Meteorological summer starts June 1, right? I love the way the Weather Service does it. It's so nice and neat, regardless of what the weather actually is:Spring--March, April, MaySummer--June, July, AugustFall--September, October, NovemberWinter--December, January, February

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one last night slipped on her suit : My first thought was, what was her suit doing on the floor where she could slip on it?

John Kelly: Hey, what do you use to tell if your Speedo fits correctly? A Speedometer.

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Reflecting Pool project: I remember reading a story somewhere that they are redesigning the pool so that it draws water in from the Tidal Basin to prevent the water from getting so smelly and stagnant. They are planning other stuff to but I don't remember...

John Kelly:

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Buskers: Sorry, I really do not want these inside the stations. I walk with a cane and have enough trouble navigating without having to find my way around musical groups. Plus they are breaking the law!It would be different if this were London or Paris, where there are long corridors between stations or different platforms. Here they just get in the way.

John Kelly: Whatever happened to Metro's proposal to have entertainers in the stations? I remember they were talking about it three years ago, just as I was leaving for England. Did that ever happen or did it get lost in the overall collapse of Metro? How about Metro allows it and takes a cut from the entertainers?

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WT Woodson Class of 1991: I saw the items about senior pranks and I found myself wondering if it must be even harder to pull off a good one now than it was in my day. Let's face it, many high school kids are too stupid or too immature to keep their mouths shut. It's one reason why the idiots who vandalize things, for example, almost always get caught--they blab and someone with a conscience hears about it. (I recall when I was in high school the cross-country team didn't like a column in the school newspaper about their offensive T-shirt that was banned by the school, so they went and did $800 of damage to the author's mother's Jaguar and also set his parents' lawn on fire. Then they bragged and of course everyone found out about it.) The senior class a year or two ahead of me tried to bury a VW Beetle in the grass out front of the school, but they got found out when one person let slip what was happening and of course the gossip network went wild.Nowadays, with all these kids blabbing every detail of their lives over the Internet (I mean, come on, you don't need to post something telling us you're going to sit on the toilet), I would think it must be almost impossible for anyone that age to keep an organized activity a secret, and a truly good senior prank requires an effort involving more than one person.

John Kelly: That's a good point. Secrecy and cleverness are the keys to a good prank. I remember some in my day involving flagpoles, like automobile tires threaded over the tops and stuff like that. Not that clever, I guess. That's why the MIT ones are so good.

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Expensive bachelor party: Seriously? $6,000 a piece to drink and watch nekkid people? I thought we were in a recession. I can think of plenty of hungry, homeless, struggling people who could use that kind of money. The whole idea is abhorrent.

John Kelly: It does seem a little much, doesn't it? But then don't people spend six figures on weddings? He says he gives the leftovers to charity.

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Now when I throw a bachelor party each of the invited quests contributes $6k.: This guy is pulling our leg.

John Kelly: Perhaps, but did you read the story about the big, swinging, um, guys in town who rent wine lockers at restaurants? Those sound like the kind of people who would do that sort of bacchanalian bachelor party.

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separated at birth: Don't forget the third triplet, Dana Milbank.Maybe it's the glasses.

John Kelly: They're magic. Soon everyone will want them.

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Unofficial start of summer...: With all of the snow days from the blizzards this past winter, are any of the school districts extending their schedule after their normal last day of classes?

John Kelly: A few had to adjust their schedules a bit, but as far as I know there haven't been too many wholesale changes. MoCo, for example, didn't need to add any days. If, 20 years from now, the U.S. has lost its competitive edge, it might be because of this winter.

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Crickets: Black widows eat crickets. We'd have to import them, of course.

John Kelly: There was an old lady who swallowed a fly...I remember that book as a kid. Creeped me out.

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N Street Development: when I was a frequent business traveler to D.C., I stayed at the Tabard Inn for all the obvious reasons. I had courted my wife there earlier and loved the whole neighborhood. In your column today, the fateful words are the quote from the hotel project's architect, Anton Janezich, "The site can't be developed unless something is built there." I hope and pray that the six beautiful buildings already built there cause the govt reviewers to say no to this project. What are the chances of that happening?

John Kelly: Something will be built there. Something should be built there. The question is what and how big? Apparently at yesterday's Historic Preservation Review Board the architects were told to lessen the height/impact of the eastern part of their project, closest to the Tabard Inn. That's good news for the Tabard. The Board of Zoning Adjustment meets June 8.

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Arlington, Va.: The guy that just can't resist bragging about how much he spends on bachelor parties sounds like a world-class DB. A bachelor party should be about whatever interests the groom. If that involves strippers, limousines and limitless booze, then so be it. If that involves a fly fishing trip of a lifetime for him and 10 of his best friends, then that's great too. If it's doing charity work for a weekend then more power to 'em - who cares?

John Kelly: Exactly. Since I never had a bachelor party, I feel I'm owed one. Maybe for my 50th birthday I'll invite all my male friends to hike Hadrian's Wall with me. Doesn't that sound like fun?

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"If a bride to be has problems with a bachelor party and strippers then there will be other control issues in the marriage": Wow, interesting relationship advice! Yeah right dude, nobody is believing your story.

John Kelly: I probably shouldn't admit this, but I've been watching the first "Sex and the City" movie while jogging on the treadmill the last few mornings. I can't think of a worse movie for a guy to jog on a treadmill to.

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Washington, D.C.: "Whatever happened to Metro's proposal to have entertainers in the stations?" They tried it out. Most of the entertainers were either more boring than your regular buskers, or they were REALLY BIG GROUPS that stood right in front of or next to busy elevators. I remember one large group staging their "entertainment" right in front of the 7th & F street entrance to Gallery Place, during evening rush. The normal, non-Metro sanctioned people who play that entrance in the morning are pretty good, though.

John Kelly: As long as there weren't any Andean flute players. I'm sick of those guys. Machu Pich-ewww.

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Is it like how a sandwich made by someone else always tastes better than one you make for yourself, simply because you didn't have to make it: I realized that about coffee. I continiously quizzed my husband about exactly how much coffee he put in the basket, how much water... I swore when I made it it wasn't as god. Finally I realized it's simply better because I didn't have to wake up first and make it.

John Kelly: That's why you guys have to trade off, so he can have that experience, too. It's the only way your marriage will survive. (I'm channeling Hax.)

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Senior Pranks: My year (Churchill '88), they planned on turning the grass in the semi-circular front driveway into a beach. Senior were to show up at 5am (I think) with sand, beach towels, beach toys, etc. Turned out, only a handful showed up but others joined as they showed up for school. Then some had alcohol. Police were called and they told the principal, "Disperse the kids or we start arresting." Principal sent all seniors home. Of course, it was the day they were giving the Calculus AP test so I had to stay. Grrr!!!!

John Kelly: Someone always has to go a little too far. That prank woulda been fine--a quirky bit of performance art--if they'd left the alcohol out of it. Of course if you'd been slathered in coconut oil you mighta slid out of your seat during the AP Calc test.

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Reflecting Pool Project: They should build an actual swimming pool. And not one for the geese/ducks. And for them they should get a reflecting pool fox.

John Kelly: Imagine the synchronized swimming events they could have there!

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Cricket Fear: Crickets are beneficial insects. So what if they eat paper and leave a lot of poop around ? So does my dog.

John Kelly: I don't think they're that beneficial in a classroom. Maybe the kid should have been sentenced to running around after the insects holding a glue trap in each hand.

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British Car week--again: Nice shot about your Datsun actually starting. Yes, the electrical systems in most British cars were produced by Lucas -- the prince of darkness --and also the answer to the age old question "Why do the British drink their beer warm ? Because Lucas builds the refrigerators". You can show up a BCD any way, even with the Datsun--just not on the show field !

John Kelly: We need a Japanese car day. The problem is, I don't see too many pre-1970s Hondas, Toyotas, Subarus or Datsuns around.

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Memorial Day Concert: Are you going to the one on the Mall or the one at the 930 Club?

John Kelly: I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get 930 tix. I was there the night it opened. And the night the new one opened. Have to keep my streak alive.

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Re: Senior Prank: This is only vaguely related, but back in rural Pennsylvania, one of my classmates decided our senior prank in '05 would be him climbing onto the school roof in a gorilla costume. Well, a cafeteria worker saw him as a terrorist and freaked out, she called the principal, the principal called the police, the police brought in the SWAT, and multiple TV helicopters followed them in. There were actual snipers perched on the roofs of neighboring buildings.

John Kelly: She must have confused "gorilla" with "guerilla."

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But then don't people spend six figures on weddings? : Yes. This too is abhorrent.

John Kelly: That's exactly what I keep telling my daughters.

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Hadrian's Wall: Very macho! You should all dress like Roman soldiers for your hike.

John Kelly: Or paint ourselves blue.That's all for today's chat. It's a holiday weekend so I hope you're able to cut out early this afternoon. Thanks for stopping by and happy barbecuing.


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