Archive: July 2009

BritNews RoundUp: Aerial Thong Edition

In my weekly BritNews RoundUp I normally include only a brief precis of the story in question and provide a link to the original source. Today, however, I feel compelled to quote a larger chunk of this delightful story from...

By John Kelly | July 31, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Photo Flashback: Feline Assistant Edition

I've run two dog photos in this feature and now the cat people are clamoring for equal time. How about this one: It ran in The Post on Jan. 2, 1945, accompanying this story: "Minnie," feline rat exterminator of the...

By John Kelly | July 30, 2009; 9:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Score a Win for the Horse Massager

When, as an old man, I look back on the favorite things I encountered during my years as a big-time Washington Post journalist, certain to rank near the top will be hearing a Circuit Court judge ask of an attorney...

By John Kelly | July 30, 2009; 2:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

American Idiots: The NSO Experiments With Texting

What can pop-punk superstars Green Day teach the National Symphony Orchestra about the sanctity of performance? Quite a lot it turns out. I was at the Green Day/Kaiser Chiefs show at Verizon last night and a better example of the...

By John Kelly | July 30, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

Talking to the Hand: Bemoaning Modern 'Manners'

I was about halfway through Lynne Truss's book "Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door" when I came across a very good point....

By John Kelly | July 29, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Can Kindness Be Mandated? Howard County's Civility Experiment

Is Howard County nicer than it used to be? After all, in 2006 the county launched its "Choose Civility" initiative, a campaign inspired by the work of Johns Hopkins professor P.M. Forni. Has that made a difference in the quality...

By John Kelly | July 28, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Terrible Ten: P.M. Forni's Top Rudenesses. And Yours?

Earlier today I blogged about P.M. Forni, the Johns Hopkins professor who for the last decade has devoted himself to the cause of civility. In his latest book, "The Civility Solution," Dr. Forni tries to offer advice on defusing rude...

By John Kelly | July 27, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (14)

Meet Howard County's Mr. Nice Guy

"Abandon hope all ye who enter here." Those are the words the Italian poet Dante Alighieri found carved above the gates of Hell during his field trip to the underworld. They might as well be carved above the doors to...

By John Kelly | July 27, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

BritNews RoundUp: Laptop Voyeurs Edition

When I was in college I used to work at a photo lab. The younger among you will not know what a photo lab was. It was a place where you took your "film" to be "developed." Once it had...

By John Kelly | July 24, 2009; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (1)

Radical Civility: Your Slogan Here

Every movement needs a rallying cry. Here's your chance to help come up with ours. We have the name. We have the logo. Now all we need is the slogan. Several people have asked about T-shirts, buttons, coffee mugs and...

By John Kelly | July 21, 2009; 9:30 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Dangerous Side of Texting

As annoying as texting or talking on a cell phone during a movie may be, it usually doesn't result in anyone's death. (Unless, of course, a bit of vigilantism breaks out, as occasionally happens.) But texting or yacking on a...

By John Kelly | July 20, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

BritNews RoundUp: Spineless Hedgehog Edition

I have remarked in this space before how much the English love their animals: dogs, cats, budgies. But also the non-domesticated ones. Take, for example, Spud, a hedgehog discovered wandering in an English garden in March. Spud was suffering from...

By John Kelly | July 17, 2009; 9:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

Catching Rockers in the World Wide Web

If you wait long enough, you will meet the idols you once worshipped. Of course, it helps if your idols were never that big to begin with. Take last night, for example. My Lovely Wife and I went to the...

By John Kelly | July 16, 2009; 9:15 AM ET | Comments (3)

Critter Pix: Life in the Fox Hole

We interrupt our Radical Civility coverage to bring you John Kelly's Commons' Wild Kingdom. Last month in my column I wrote about a family of foxes behaving oddly in the Alexandria neighborhood of Yacht Haven. How oddly? They were actually...

By John Kelly | July 15, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

NY Times' Ethicist Joins the 'Civility' Brigade

Randy Cohen, the New York Times' Ethicist, has a typically thorough examination of the practice of texting in his blog today. He examines when it's okay and when it isn't okay. When it isn't okay is when you're supposed to...

By John Kelly | July 14, 2009; 9:55 AM ET | Comments (3)

Can Rudeness Ever Be Polite? (The Answer Is No)

I have good news and bad news from my informal weekend survey of Washington-area civility. The good news? At a screening of "Up" last night at the Regal Cinemas in Rockville I didn't see a single texter. There was a...

By John Kelly | July 13, 2009; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (15)

BritNews RoundUp: Bush League Edition

Britain's latest superhero is a nature-loving gardener who dresses up as a shrub and tends to public gardens in Colchester. He calls himself the Human Shrub and dons a bushy disguise as he tends to neglected gardens in the English...

By John Kelly | July 10, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Bone Marrow: Swab Your Cheek, Save a Life

When Courtney Gray Haupt walks down the street she cannot help but look into the faces of the strangers streaming past and wonder: "Could it be you? Could it be you? Could it be you?" In March Courtney's husband, Jonathan,...

By John Kelly | July 10, 2009; 8:37 AM ET | Comments (2)

Setting His Sights on Cinema: A Movielover's Lament

TJ Edwards thinks he knows why some people are rude at movie theaters, and it has nothing to do with some people just being rude. It has to do with the act of moviegoing itself, a once-magical experience that has...

By John Kelly | July 9, 2009; 9:48 AM ET | Comments (7)

A Modest Proposal: A Radical Solution to Movie Texting?

Reader Donna Hosek has an idea for how to deal with movie texters. Now, I can't tell whether Donna's being serious or whether she's being facetious but I like her creativity. Here's what she has to say: I don't...

By John Kelly | July 8, 2009; 9:22 AM ET | Comments (4)

The Fall of the Usher of the House: Violence at the Multiplex?

A common lament among those who decry the texting-and-talking atmosphere in movie theaters these days is that "Ushers don't do anything." They don't enforce the theaters' own rules. I have no scientific evidence to back this up but let us,...

By John Kelly | July 6, 2009; 9:30 AM ET | Comments (8)

BritNews RoundUp: Holiday Weekend Edition

As you head outside on this holiday weekend don't forget to apply sunblock. If only the Scottish would remember that. According to a recent survey the Scottish have the unhealthiest tanning habits in the United Kingdom and develop skin cancer...

By John Kelly | July 3, 2009; 10:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

BritNews RoundUp: Holiday Weekend Edition

As you head outside on this holiday weekend don't forget to apply sunblock. If only the Scottish would remember that. According to a recent survey the Scottish have the unhealthiest tanning habits in the United Kingdom and develop skin cancer...

By John Kelly | July 3, 2009; 10:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

More Common Sense From the Midwest

My contact at NATO (the National Association of Theatre Owners, not the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) sent me another example of a movie theater trying to stop texting before it even starts. The Pickwick Theatre in Syracuse, Indiana, created this...

By John Kelly | July 2, 2009; 9:02 AM ET | Comments (1)

Expanding Radical Civility: What About Concerts?

So far during the brief life of the Radical Civility movement, I have been focused on one thing: texting during movies. My aim has been to start modestly. But pondering inappropriate behavior in one setting inevitably raises questions of inappropriate...

By John Kelly | July 1, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

 
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