A Front Row Seat To Change

23 01 2009

You could smell the change in the air...or maybe that was just marijuana"

I know what you are thinking, you didn’t come to The Annexation to read about politics. You came to have your mind blown by incredible sports satire with the possibility of a masturbation reference or two. Well guess what asshat, some things are more important than why Jeff Kent is retiring or which NFL coach just got canned. Some stories supersede athletics and vile analogies. So, if you were hoping for an article about Kurt Warner’s spikey-haired wife reappearing at this year’s Super Bowl, or a story about why Mark “Dirty” Sanchez will be a bust in the NFL like his mentor Matt “Beer Bong” Leinhart, you might be disappointed today. Funny story though, this is my sports blog and I can write about whatever the hell I want. If you don’t like it, you can take your ungrateful attitude over to www.withleather.com. (Here’s where I quickly realize this blog only has three dedicated readers.) Sorry, I take it back. Please stay, I promise I’ll write about sports with metaphors about pooping in the next article.

Let me start by saying, waking up before 8:00a.m. is something I try my damnedest not to do. There are few things that are worth getting up before the sun rises. Unless you’re expecting presents under a Christmas tree, or trying to duck out of the hotel room before the hooker wakes up, waking up before sunrise is a terrible idea. Alarms even sound different when they go off before 8:00a.m. They make this screeching, high pitched noise…like fingernails on a chalkboard or the sound of hundreds of crying babies. When you open your eyes and see a blurry 6:00a.m. coming out of your asshole of an alarm clock, it can honestly make you sick to your stomach.

On this morning, however, the sound of 6:00a.m. somehow didn’t make me want to kill a kitten. I slid out of bed and felt proud of myself for being up so early. You know that feeling when you know you’re going to be early for something? It’s kind of like saying a big “screw you” to all those people who will be stuck in traffic or waiting in line. Well, that pride lasted a solid two minutes until I flipped on CNN. Thinking I was the only person out of two million who had the bright idea of “beating the rush,” I quickly learned that I was in fact an idiot. By 6:15a.m., half of the Mall was already full. That means that nearly one million people woke up EARLIER and said a big “screw you” to me.

Before our two and a half mile walk to the Capitol began, we stacked on about 37 layers of clothing, 10 to 15 hand warmers, lip balm, two pairs of gloves and three pairs of socks. I felt like the little brother in A Christmas Story, remember when he can’t lift his arms because he’s stuck in too many damn layers? Picture that kid with a Steelers beanie on, that was me.

Surprisingly, our long trek down to the Mall didn’t seem too cold, or too long. Every street corner and sidewalk was lined with thousands of people fighting the cold with good spirits. We were colder than a polar bear’s toenails, but no one really seemed to mind. By the time we got to the lower street numbers near 3rd street, we followed a large crowd heading into a street tunnel. Walking into that tunnel, there was no exit in sight. The only thing you could see were thousands of people, shoulder to shoulder, wall to wall, walking into an abyss. At that point, however, we all said fuck it and followed the crowd.

It was at this moment that I realized how different this crowd was. We’ve all been through large crowds at sporting events or large concerts, but there was a different vibe amongst these people. Thousands of people were smiling, chanting and waving American flags through the bitter, winter air. Strangers were rubbing against each other in the large stack of people, but it bothered no one. There was no pushing, shoving and aggravation to be found. We all were excited to be a part of history.

After an exceptional amount of weaving in between people and a barrage of “excuse me”, we made our way to our specified ticketed area. People with tickets were separated by color. Our silver ticket granted us access to the very front portion of the Mall, just behind the Capitol Reflecting Pool. By the time we made it through security (they checked bags and waistbands) we set up shop in the very center of the first block of the Mall. With the crowd, the lines and the two and a half mile walk, we finally sat down at 9:15a.m. For you non-math wiz people out there, that’s nearly three hours.

With no food in our bodies and no water around us, people still found energy to scream, chant and continue to wave their flags. Among the 22 jumbo trons set up throughout the Mall, we sat just behind the first one. Our energy was exuded when the jumbo trons would portray famous celebrities, congressmen and Senators who were up in the bleacher area. They’d show Beyonce and Jay-Z, Ted Kennedy, John Cusak (thought that was pretty damn random) Denzel Washington and Leonardo DiCaprio. With each face they’d show, the crowd would start shouting.

Have you ever seen what 2 million people looks like? I’ve been in stadiums with nearly 100,000 spectators  and thought to myself “holy shit that’s a lot of people.” But 2 million? Imagine you’re at the beach, you look out at the ocean and all you can see is water. Now picture the ocean is filled with people. That’s what it looked like when I turned around. It was literally a sea of people. Cold and excited people.

One of the funniest moments of the morning was the reaction 2 million people gave President Bush as he appeared on 22 jumbo trons. I expected a massive collection of boos, hisses and maybe a few things thrown at the TV screens. The reaction, however, was laughter. No one booed, screamed or threw trash. People just laughed at him, like a joke.  This was Bush’s coups de gras, and all we could do was laugh.

After nearly two hours of standing around, just about the time my hand warmers cooled off, the announcer introduced President Elect Barack Obama. When he finished shaking hands and kissing babies, he met Chief Justice John “I can’t memorize my lines” Roberts at the podium. Apparently someone forgot to inform Roberts that today was Inauguration day. You know, January 20th! The day that’s been on his calendar for the past four fucking years! As Obama placed his hand on the Lincoln Bible, Roberts started off the Oath of Office as if he were a nervous actor trying to remember his sole line in a movie. Obama, being the genius that he is, smiled and corrected the stammering idiot. (Some people have been saying Roberts messed this up on purpose because Obama did not support his seat to the Supreme Court. To that I say: “I fucking hope not!” I can only hope that our highest ranking judge in America does not hold grudges or pass “judgements” on people based on hearsay. That might defeat the whole purpose of innocent until proven guilty.

Then came the very moment we had all gathered to see. “The Moment” as CNN so eloquently called it (wanking motion) was “President Elect” becoming “President Barack Obama.” When the words “So help me God” were spoken, the crowd erupted into a sea of waving flags, cheers, hugs, high fives and tears. White, Black, Latino, Asian, none of that mattered. People were coming together like I’ve had never seen before. For those few minutes, none of us were strangers. Peace, love and camaraderie engulfed the Mall like a scene out of Forrest Gump, minus the whole Jenny running through the reflecting pool thing.

Before President Obama’s speech, I could not help but imagine what it would be like to stand at that podium and see 2 million people instantly go silent. The fact that he did not pass out with anxiety was already a victory in my mind. Just as Obama has done with speeches in the past, he mustered up the confidence and self-control to tee up his speech and once again knock it out of the park.

The crowd fell absolutely silent for those 10 minutes. We clutched onto the people we love, some even grabbed onto strangers. We starred incessantly at the jumbo tron, tears streaming as we all realized the importance of where we were and what we were witnessing. It was a feeling a will never forget, the kind where you close your eyes and whisper to yourself  “I’ll remember this moment for the rest of my life.” Kind of like when you lose your virginity, except this lasted more than five minutes.

The thing that gave us all  goosebumps, besides the 18 degree air, was the reason why so many people had descended upon the same place. They all wanted to be a part of something much larger than themselves.  More than just being a part of history, but also to soak in how far our country has come. Because whether you voted for him or not, Barack Obama represents the growth of our nation, from where we have come as  individuals, to the future cultivation of our country.

More to come soon, just keep refreshing. Don’t pretent like you don’t refresh this site every hour on the hour anyways. Sorry for the length of this article, ladies, I know you don’t mind the length. Eh, get it? Length? Fine, I’ll shut up now.



Candidates For Obama’s Cabinet Pull The “I Also Used To Play JV Basketball” Card

18 11 2008

Thanks to the political research team here at APR (aka me watching CNN on my couch) we have been working tirelessly to uncover the candidates for the new White House administration. With nearly 8,000 jobs to be filled in the next few weeks, President Elect Obama will certainly have his desk swarming with resumes and cover letters. Everyone from Hillary Clinton and Colin Powell to Joe Sixpack and Joe the Plumber (well, maybe not that d-bag) will be vying for a spot on Obama’s staff. These potential candidates are currently searching through the Plum Booklike a political version of Cragislist (minus the whole casual encounters part.)

Resumes and portfolios are already piling up on the desk of the Oval Office. They’re stacked up right next to the even larger pile marked: “Shit Bush Left Obama To Deal With.” Since the resumes will be in the thousands, candidates will be forced to stand out from the pack. Even the top positions will have to duke it out through experience and originality. Sure, most of them have great foreign policy and health care experience, but why would one be a better Secretary of State than the other? That is the difficult question Obama is currently faced with. Could the President Elect work so closely with Hillary after beating her in the primaries? Would Republican Colin Powell work in an all Democratic Cabinet? What will the candidates do to make themselves stand out?

These candidates obviously know Obama well enough by now to cater to his interests. Hillary has the experience in the Senate along with health care reform, but she realizes that is not enough to get her hired. Powell has previously served as Secretary of State and understands the rigors of the job, but he realizes that is not enough to get him the position he so desires. That is why these candidates and others have resorted to…straight up brown nosing.

President Elect Obama has never made it a secret how much he enjoys basketball. There have been numerous interviews regarding his desire to play pick-up games even on the campaign trail. Reports have also leaked that he will build a court at his new residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. With their knowledge of Obama’s favorite past time and a keen ability to suck up, candidates are including their interest in basketball on their resumes.

Thanks to our insider political sources (once again, that would be me scanning the Internet and watching CNN) these important resumes have been uncovered. The research team here has located the resumes of a few powerful candidates competing for the top positions in Obama’s cabinet. And by “located their resumes” I mean “made them up on Microsoft publisher.” Okay….so they might not be technically “real” resumes, but I would not be surprised if these candidates actually do pull the “I used to play JV basketball” card in hopes of landing the job.

Here’s what a few resumes might look like by the time they hit Obama’s desk:



A Night To Remember

6 11 2008
Hold on to your keyboard and nipples people, this blogger is about to get insightful. Most of you come to my blog with the anticipation of reading something about as deep as a plastic kiddie pool. I hardly drop my humor and phenomenal wit to delve into something profound. On this day however, November 5, 2008, I would be remiss if I did not discuss with you the groundbreaking events of last night. Don’t worry, there will still be a few fucking curse words or two to make you feel right at home.
obama dunk

With 349 Electoral votes and counting, Obama simply dominated McCain.

It all started yesterday with margaritas (making vomiting sounds) at 10:30 a.m.  (Sorry……”fuking margaritas.”) Jesus, I’m not a trained monkey here people. You just can’t expect me to curse in every godamn article! Anyways…. what the hell was I talking about? Oh yeah, pre-noon tequila.
Tequila is always one of those things that starts off as a genius idea, then quickly turns south after you realize you just drank three strong ass margaritas. In your office…With higher-ups in the company…Before eating….anything. Nonetheless, Election Day 2008 started off with a bang (and maybe a dry heave or two.)
Before the Patron and early afternoon hangover…. I woke up yesterday with an overwhelming feeling of hope. A feeling that we would all be a part of something much bigger than ourselves later that evening. I could feel it as I turned on CNN while waking up late for work. Polls were opening, long lines were forming and millions of people were making their voices heard. Switching over to FOX, just to make sure my morning news would be “fair and balanced,” a scrolling headline read “McCain Wins With 0% Reporting!!!” Greta Van Susteren kept yelling “McCain ith Prethident!”
Before walking out the door, I threw on my “Barack. Paper. Scissors” t-shirt and made my way to work via DC’s public transportation. It was overcast and nipply out, but most city commuters had looks of possibility in their eyes and warm smiles on their faces. We could feel the change-a-comin’!
As the afternoon flew by, thanks to our Government Relations Dept. and their stash of top-shelf tequila, the excitement and anxiety grew by the hour. We finally closed up shop, said our good lucks and prepared ourselves for one hell of a memorable evening. Whichever way the cookie were to crumble, the world was in for a historic night.
A few of us set up at a bar not too far from our office downtown. We grabbed a few pitchers, an order of sliders or two and posted up like Dikembe Mutombo. The normally raucous crowd stared incessantly at the four flatscreens, all of which were tuned to CNN’s live coverage. With each dramatic commercial break, we waited for the obnoxiously loud music to inform us a “CNN Prediction” had been made. It was electrifying and the feeling was contagious. People screamed with each state that was announced. First Pennsylvania came, along with a barrage of high fives and multiple cheers. The more states Wolf Blitzer announced, the more cheering and awkward Tiger Woods-esque high fives were thrown. It had the feeling of a World Series game seven or a Super Bowl overtime. Then came the announcements of Ohio and Virginia, Obamataking both. It was then that people started to get silent. Collectively, we all started to realize “holy shit, this could really happen…and happen soon.” It was at that moment that the California polls closed. The state with 54 electoral votes was enough to sling Obama past the 270 needed to be elected….and with plenty to spare.
The packed bar stared at the screen…fingers crossed, waiting as if a last second field goal was about to be kicked. With no time to prepare for what was about to happen, Wolf came on screen. Before the words could leave his mouth, the headline hit CNN…sending nearly 100 of us into a victorious roar. “CNN Projection: Barack Obama Elected President.” High fives flew, tears were flowing and beer was spilling everywhere from all the celebratory cheers. You could hear local bars and restaurants near by erupt into the same enthusiastic roar. At that very moment, we were all witnessing history in the making.
As McCain stepped on stage to make his concession speech, the bar returned to it’s normal octave. The patrons could see the hard work in his eyes combined with the lack of sleep and sadness he must have felt. He was gracious and everyone appreciated that. At the end of his difficult speech, the crowd once again erupted, as if to acknowledge the good fight McCain’s campaign put up.
After 30 minutes of waiting, then came the moment we had all been anticipating. When Obama finally made his way on stage in front of over 200,000 people in Chicago…our bar went silent. Everyone just stared, doe-eyed, clenching on to their beers. I could over hear a guy near me mutter “Dude, this speech is going to make me cry like a little bitch.” Believe me, he wasn’t the only one. People were transfixed on Obama throughout his speech. No one dared speak. Looking around the room, there was not a dry eye in the house. Grown men, women, even the bartenders were choking up. It was more powerful than we could have ever imagined. People were consumed by the moment and everything that it encompassed. A moment we will certainly tell our children and grandchildren about.
“Let’s go to the White House!” Someone yelled as Obama’s speech ended. Without thinking or explaining why the White House exactly…everyone piled out of the bar and headed for the streets. It was 12:30 a.m. on an early Wednesday morning and the streets were alive like Mardi Gras! It felt like Spring Break, Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl all rolled into one night. Every street was packed with cars and ecstatic pedestrians…and we were all headed for the White House.
The walk was long, but no one gave a shit. It was raining, but no one gave a shit. Most everyone had to work in a few hours…and no one gave a shit. People were running up to cars and throwing high fives. Strangers were dancing in the street and shouting “We did it!” It was the most electrifying two- mile-walk any of us had ever made.
After countless high-fives and cheers with thousands of strangers, we finally made our way to the front gates of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. There were thousands of people crammed in, shoulder to shoulder. Some with signs reading “Goodbye Bush.” Others had bongos to help the crowd keep rhythm while chanting “OH-BAH-MUH” The crowd was big and condensed, but it was unlike any sporting event or concert crowd I had ever seen. People were too overwhelmed with what was taking place to worry about someone stepping on their toes, or getting bumped into constantly. There were no fights or animosity to be found within the crowd.
A friend of mine suggested we have some fun and start a chant of our own. For all intents and purposes, we wanted to see how many people we could get involved in our genius idea. So, we made our way through the crowd and started up the all-time-favorite “na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye.” It was a statement to Bush and to the past eight years that our country has endured. The chant caught on like wildfire. We were jumping up and down with strangers, signing at the top of our lungs and pumping our fists. We jumped in front of news cameras and started our chant. We walked around aimlessly and started our chant. Every time we did it, more and more people jumped on the bandwaggon.
Around 1:30 a.m. our voices started to fade and so did the crowd. We started the walk back to our respective neighborhoods and realized something amazing. No one was stopping. People were still hanging out of cars and honking horns. People were still dancing in the street and screaming “We did it.” Everyone wanted to soak up the historic night in its entirety…and who could blame them. The walk home was just as lively and electrifying as the one down to the White House. High-fiving and cheering continued. People got our of their cars and danced, sang and even hugged random strangers.
For a kid who grew up in a rural-redneck-ignorant area of the country, there was something comforting and rewarding about seeing so many people in my new neighborhood excited about change. People in DC were not only embracing the idea of an African-American President, but we were cheering, chanting and singing for it. Whereas in my hometown, residents were informing local democratic committee cold callers that they would never “Vote for that fucking (N-word.)” Needless to say, I had never been happier to be a DC resident than on November 4th.
I finally got back to my apartment around 2:30 a.m. I turned on CNN, flipped off the lights and crashed out on my queen size-bed. My legs were tired, but I didn’t give a shit. My voice was nowhere to be found, but I didn’t give a shit. My hangover was starting to kick in…and I couldn’tgive a shit. Before passing out for the count, I threw open my eighth floor window. It was nearing 3:00 a.m. and the sound of car horns, people cheering and singing still engulfed the streets below. I closed my eyes, smiled and thought….I will remember this night forever.