--Spine tinglingly awesome image via Getty.
[below follows a handy compilation of tidbits and anecdotal advice for those considering making the pilgrimage down to Washington D.C. for the Presidential Inauguration]
So Rickey, this inauguration thing, what's it all about?
Every four or eight years, the nation attempts to wipe it's collective memory of all the vices and superfluities of the previous administration with a big flashy display. Think of it as one massive PDA from the nation to itself. Crowds gather, doves fly, Aaron Copland is played, and it is generally agreed upon by the public that it is a good day for enthusiasts of representative Democracy.
So why has it been eight years and not four since we last witnessed an inauguration?
Because democracy only works in countries full of smart people. The 2000 and 2004 elections have done a terrific job of justifying our need for a dictator.
Gosh, you really don't like this Bush guy, do you?
On the contrary, Rickey's got no beef with him. He's not a warped and evil man. If he was he'd be a helluva lot more interesting, like Nixon. No, Bush's problem is that he's a dullard: an incurious man who ambled his way into history. He's the political version of John McClane--the wrong guy at the wrong place at the wrong time. He's a guy who didn't bother asking complex questions at key moments and whose laziness resulted in the loss of fundamental rights, wealth, and lives. But hey, it's not like we toss our citizens in jail for that sort of thing, right? Oh wait, we do? Oops. Somebody should probably look into that.
So this Obama fellow who's going to be sworn in, he's an improvement over the last guy?
That remains to be seen. He speaks in long sentences but his ideas are concise. He's a bit of a dork but his wife is pretty hot. He works out a lot but he smokes. Dude's complicated.
I'm thinking about hopping in the car and driving down to D.C. on the day of inauguration. The traffic on the beltway loop should be light and easily navigable, yes?
Not exactly. You know the opening scene of "Falling Down"? Think something along the lines of that, with a few Hieronymus Bosch creatures tossed in for good measure. Don't be overly surprised if you see Michael Stipe walking past your car singing "Everybody Hurts."
Ok, so I'll take the train. I'm solid, right?
Until you hit the D.C. Subway system yes. At that point you're in for a bit of trouble, as the transit authority is warning of "crush level" crowds in the subways. Rickey has few rules in life, but when a mass transit advisory conjures up images of Luke, Leia, Chewbacca and Han trapped in the trash compactor in "Star Wars," Rickey usually stays at home.
Let's say I make it into the city unscathed, what's the character of the town like?
Rickey's apologies to our D.C. readers, but Washington is kind of a bland town chock full of boring museums skirted by mcmansion riddled suburbs. But when you think about it, in it's blandness, it's very representative of America as a whole. So really, if you hate D.C., you also hate America. And you don't hate dear sweet America, do you?
OK wiseguy, what are the people like in D.C.?
Best as Rickey can figure, everyone there either works for the government or is a K Street lobbyist. Imagine every student government president you ever knew gathered in the same place at the same time. Would you want to live there? Yeah, that's what we thought. In all fairness, Rickey only knows one guy who grew up in the Washington area. He likes the Redskins, jazz music, and draping his exposed genitals on various flat surfaces. Interpret that as you will.
And what of the cuisine?
The Union Station food court is what most D.C. residents will point out when they brag about all the diverse ethnic food in town. Apparently a UNO pizza joint, a burrito place, a falafel place, and a crab stick sushi operation constitute a culinary United Nations for Washington's more sophisticated set.
How's the weather down there in D.C.?
Rain rain rain and yet more rain. We'd tell you you bring an umbrella, but the Secret Service, apparently nervous about the Penguin crashing the inauguration, has flatly banned them.
Alright, I've made it to the inauguration, I can just go ahead and take a seat in the front row?
Unless you're Oprah Winfrey, no. Are you actually Oprah? If so, please stop ripping off our Rickey Recommends column with your "Favorite Things" shtick. Don't think Rickey hasn't noticed this blatant theft of intellectual property.
What can I expect from Obama's inauguration speech?
A smattering of the phrases "historic moment," "the dawn is coming!," and "I can't do this shit on my own."
I have bladder problems, there will be plenty of restrooms available at the inauguration, yes?
Here's the breakdown: 2,000,000 people and 5,000 porta-potties. You do the math, smart guy. It's going to be scatological pandemonium--like one massive episode of 2 Girls 1 Cup. In a rare moment of forethought, the Bush administration got wise to this and went ahead and preemptively declared a state of emergency for all of Washington D.C. Trust us, the town's going to look like London circa 1634 by the time all is said and done.
Wait, since they're in D.C., shouldn't Bush have declared a "District of Emergency"?
Rickey's fairly certain that just you and Rickey had noticed that.
So the crowd at this inauguration should look like any another, yes? 94% Caucasian, right?
Uh, no, not really. Unless it snows during the inauguration, in which case, yes, it will look like all the previous ones.
So what else is there to do in D.C. after the inauguration?
Put it this way: do you like museums? Because they've got 'em in spades. The Smithsonian Museum, The Folger Library Museum, The National Geographic Museum, The National Museum of Crime & Punishment, The Textile Museum, The Octagon Museum, The Bead Museum, The National Museum of American Museums... you get the picture. Also, there's always Adams Morgan if you're looking for a little night life. And if you can get through an entire evening of boozing without referring to it as "Madam's Organ," then Rickey will give you a shiny Buffalo Nickel.
Let's say I'm in the mood for a little extracurricular action down there, how do the working girls in D.C. stack up against their N.Y.C. counterparts?
They're definitely in the same league. As an added bonus, if you check them into the Mayflower Hotel, they're contractually required to be introduced by a Sergeant-at-Arms proclaiming: "MR. SPEAKER... A DAMN FINE PROSTITUTE!!!"
Is there anything to watch out for while I'm down there?
Indeed there is. There's a guy living down there who Rickey has the great misfortune of knowing named John Devaney. Take Rickey's word for it, he is without a doubt (insert Keith Olbermann style voiceover here) THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD. The guy fashions himself as a real life version of Vince Vaughn from "Swingers" and "Wedding Crashers." He brags of his various exploits as "legendary" as if he were a modern day Beowulf. He refers to women as "smokeshow sloots" and coitus as "crushing strange." He habitually takes home 50 year old women. He is boorish, obtuse, and completely oblivious to how totally awful a human being he is. Back in college, Rickey made the mistake of doing Jack Daniels shots with this guy and seven years later he still speaks of the event like it was his own personal Woodstock. Rickey once witnessed him bring a date to a wedding who he'd just met the night before. The horrified look on the poor girl's face as she slowly realized how despicable the guy was resembled that of a small child when their pet hamster dies. Everyone at the wedding joked that she might hang herself from a tree branch rather than ride back to D.C. with him in the car. Rickey never saw her at the send-off brunch so honestly, it could've happened. John Devaney is a terrible terrible person. This guy will lower your opinion of men everywhere--avoid him at all costs.
Yikes, it sounds like I'm better off staying at home. Will the inauguration be televised?
It's a relatively safe bet, yes. Recommended inauguration snacks include a cornucopia of pretzels, wings, and pork rinds. No need to purchase libations, however. As his first official act as President, Barack Obama will actually reach through your TV screen into your living room and transform your water into wine.
[posted at Humor Blogs]
Thursday, January 15, 2009
--Spine tinglingly awesome image via Getty.