OK, we're in mid-parade, with the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Group doing their kick-ass dragon dance, no doubt rehearsing for New Year. I don't think the VIP reviewing stand is as warm as it's supposed to be -- Michelle hasn't taken off her gloves, and everybody is moving around in that kind of hey-I-can't-feel-my-feet dance you see at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade sometimes. The Marching Utes are playing my least favorite piece of "music" so I'll mute the Utes. Some day, huh? Glorious sunshine, even more glorious Bush exorcism. Like most wise-ass bloggers, I'm not buying the official account of Cheney's back injury while "moving boxes" -- yeah, cases of Glenfiddich maybe. Did VMI just sneak in a few bars of "Dixie"? Well, Lincoln said it was his favorite tune. The Obamas have had their first lesson in appearing to be interested, excited even, when you're cold and hungry and one band looks just like another. You have to be on the job for at least fifty years to be really good at it, like Elizabeth II. That's it, they're out of here.
Thanks to C-SPAN I managed to dodge most of the commentary (dysentery?) from Chris Mathews, Wolf Blitzer, and the rest of the compulsive chatters. They're showing highlights now -- what was in the box Michelle Obama handed to Laura Bush? I'm hoping crullers. Why couldn't the Bushes drive to the airport like real people for once? They have to learn to be real people now, if possible. Apparently Bush has never seen the new house in a "white only" enclave of Dallas. Laura chose it so Condi would stop hanging around her husband. The only way Dr. Rice can visit him now is to dress in a maid uniform and leave before sunset. Change? I don't believe so.
After all the invocations, it was very warming for the atheists to get a shout-out in The Speech. I may start a petition to have Richard Dawkins read an anti-invocation in 2011. Something from Darwin or Mark Twain.
When Roberts flubbed the oath, I said to myself, hello, some wingnut will claim it's not official. Thank you, Chris Wallace. For the record, I never liked your father either. By the way, Diana Spencer repeated her husband's names out of order at their wedding in 1981, and that was official. What do you say to that?
When Aretha Franklin sings "America," no one could confuse it with the British National Anthem. God save the Queen of Soul. Magnificent hat, too. In fact, there were outstanding hats everywhere today, Sherlock Holmes deerstalkers, Russian furred numbers, cherry red fedoras, berets, ski caps, flat caps, and that's just the men. Some of the women should have worn hats -- Dianne Feinstein looks like she shares a stylist with Rod Blagojevich.
Clearly the vice-presidential oath was not written by the fine writers who composed the Constitution. It sounds like chamber of commerce boilerplate. But it was flawless, so at least we have an unchallenged vice president. Hang in there, Justice Stevens, help is on the way. Soon you can retire without fear.
I'm not sure we needed another version of "Simple Gifts," but it was beautifully played. I always feel sorry for musicians who have to play outdoors, especially in the cold. Music blows around, stringed instrument go out of tune, and as Jean Shepherd once said of windy weather, "One minute you're playing the Sousaphone, the next minute the Sousaphone is playing you." Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and Anthony McGill toughed it out; Gabriella Montero wore fingerless gloves. But it only took a few minutes. This is, after all, the instrumental layout of Messiaen's "Quartet For the End of Time." There would have been few survivors.
The President -- I haven't typed that word in ages without feeling queasy -- cited Ecclesiastes to the effect that it's time to put off childish things. The first test will come in a few hours, when the funny funny men get to say "balls" over and over, giggling like nine-year-olds. And so I'm out of here.
Hillary Clinton's confirmation as Secretary of State is being held up by some Republican asshat from Texas. It begins.