Friday, January 23, 2009

Inaugurama v.Obama

DC, meet VTK. The last time I was in the nation's capitol was exactly 4 years ago, several months short of the advent of VTK, for the same event - the Presidential Inauguration. Of course, that trip was in a protest organizer capacity (the Turn Your Back On Bush action), and this one was in more of a celebratory capacity (my cartoons and flipping birds at federal agencies notwithstanding). BV has a close friend in Arlington VA, so we carpooled down with a few friends and crashed just over the river for a few days. The hospitality was great and I've been assured that my paranoid certainty that the 8 year old son of the hosts had stolen my toiletry bag was unfounded. I'm still not convinced, but I'm letting it go. This is me, letting it go.

Moving on. We made our way into DC for the Inaugural concert mid-afternoon on Sunday, with a brief stop to greet the new Department of Interior.

Unfortunately, security stopped letting people into the concert area at the beginning of the show so we milled around the Washington Memorial, trying to get a good view of one of the jumbotrons. We made it in time for Stevie Wonder and Obama, which was good enough for me. Apparently, I am too cynical, snobbish, whatever, to enjoy Pete Seeger singing This Land is Your Land like everyone else. Just didn't do it for me. We walked around DC after the show and ran into Obama in a CVS. We discussed our eyeglasses.

The evening was spent feasting on Ethiopian food (everyone) and sneaking peeks at the Steelers' score on BV's blackberry (me).

Monday was pretty chill as we met friends at the Native American Museum for lunch (I had the buffalo steak mid-rare, with brussel sprouts and wild rice) and dinner (roasted chicken with date stuffing on a bed of sauteed chard). We topped it off with some vodka gimlets at VTK reader lc's "Eat My Balls" Inauguration Party, which featured cheese balls, popcorn balls, meatballs, etc. It was a good night for city roaming.

We got up before the crack of dawn to head into the city on Tuesday to meet up with everyone and make our way onto the Mall to watch the Inauguration. That plan fell by the wayside immediately as we realized that we were in trouble after standing still in line for 20 minutes with 1000 other people trying to get into the Subway station in Arlington. We decided to walk the 3 miles to the Washington Monument. It was 10 degrees, but at least we weren't trapped underground for 3 hours.

We crossed the Memorial Bridge into DC and were excited to find that we were at the Lincoln Memorial and that while we weren't likely to meet up with our friends, we had thousands of port-a-potties at our disposal, plenty of time, and our pick of Jumbotrons. In other words, I was unlikely to have the claustrophobic panic attack that I had been predicting. Best. Case. Scenario. I took this photo of what I called the Inaugural Layer Cake (sky, federal building, trees, buses, port-a-potties, people):

The ceremony itself was great, with ubercreep Rick Warren being the only downside. Fortunately, his hypocritic blather was followed immediately by Aretha Franklin's transcendent rendition of My Country Tis Of Thee. I'm not so cynical/snobbish/whatever that I couldn't appreciate this:

And then, of course, there was this:

And Dick Cheney was in a wheelchair. Great day. And traffic was a total non-issue on the ride home. Great trip. And BV's new New Yorker was waiting for us when we got home. Great fun:

Go Steelers!


akboognish said...

That's the first time I've seen Robert's and Obama's mix-up of the oath of office since watching it live on tv, and while I'm glad you didn't discuss the flub at all (it's pretty much a dead story), I did find the op ed by Steven Pinker in the NY Times to be particularly interesting.

As for the video on the New New Yorker, I clicked on that one and turned on the speakers of my computer, to find the interesting visuals set to a Johnny Cash song ("Like a Soldier").

Only when the video ended did I realize that the song was playing on the computer in another program. The two go well together, though, especially considering your guys' return from the inaugural and the drawing of Obama on the cover. I think the third stanza was playing when I started the video, but here is the whole song:

"With the twilight colors falling
And the evening laying shadows
Hidden memories come stealing from my mind
As I feel my own heart beating out
The simple joy of living
I wonder how I ever was that kind

But the wild road I was rambling
Was always out there calling
And they said a hundred times I should have died
But now my present miracle
Is that you're here beside me So,
I believe they were roads that I was meant to ride

Like a soldier getting over the war
Like a young man getting over his crazy days
Like a bandit getting over his lawless ways
Every day is better than before
I'm like a soldier getting over the war

There were nights I don't remember
And there's pain that I've forgotten
Other things I choose not to recall
There are faces that come to me
In my darkest secret memory
Faces that I wish would not come back at all

In my dreams parade of lovers
From the other times and places
There's not one that matters now, no matter who
I'm just thankful for the journey
And that I've survived the battles
And that my spoils of victory are you"

Dan said...

Not only is that article particularly interesting, it proceeds to fully rock my world. I hadn't commented on it because, while I thought the flub was fascinating, I hadn't really found an adequate explanation for it. I didn't think he was being vindictive, subversive, or mean, nor did I think he would have been that nervous or forgetful. He's too smart. But he almost seemed to waver when Obama seemed to call him on it, but then he ended up repeating it incorrectly a second time. I couldn't figure it out. This is a great explanation. I found this paragraph to be particularly fascinating:

Language pedants hew to an oral tradition of shibboleths that have no basis in logic or style, that have been defied by great writers for centuries, and that have been disavowed by every thoughtful usage manual. Nonetheless, they refuse to go away, perpetuated by the Gotcha! Gang and meekly obeyed by insecure writers.

Holy alpha-grammarian haymaker.

Dearest Cupcake said...

Great post! But too pessimistic for Pete Seeger? DDN, that is sad. If I had a hammer, I'd hammer some optimism into you.

John said...

I still can't believe cardboard Obama made you take off your glasses.

Dan said...

DC - I've never needed any help getting hammered.

John - Cardboard Obama made me do a lot of things that day. A lot of things that I'm not permitted to speak about.

Kevin said...

Can you go anywhere without picking a fight with an 8-year-old?

Dan said...

I'm telling you: the kid was suspect.