The Blue Raccoon

Monday, November 19, 2007

Whirlybird: The Prez Alights, Then Leaves--
No West Wing for you!

So, billion-eyed audience, I'm sitting at my desk around 11 a.m. frowning into my computer screen and gripping my hair while trying to figure out what to do next, when this reciprocating thudding rattles the windows. I look out to Broad Street and there, descending from the gun metal grey skies was, if my West Wing nomencalture was correct, Marine One.

I'd seen in the paper today that POTUS was paying call in RVA to bestow a President's Volunteer Service Award to Paul Anderson, who serves the Central Virginia Foodbank, which is just a few blocks from our offices. Then the Chief Executive is to heigh over to Berkeley Plantation, where I guess he's seeking some Colonial-era pointers about landowning aristocrats and their chattels. Hope they show him the escape tunnel that's there--built perhaps to outwit uppity natives, or later, slave insurrection.

Anyway, so Portia, Kate, Jack and me ambled in the chill air over to the Division of Motor Vehicles offices (that are out of character to the cityscape, and plopped down in an ocean of parking, resembles some kind of 1970s corporate headquarters).

I wondered aloud in a hopeful voice, "Is Martin Sheen on [the helicopter]?" I'd just seen the doco Who Killed The Electric Car? which he narrates -- as usual with these pieces, I found corporate stupidity and venality displayed therein almost unbearable. Kate said, "Or even Michael Douglas," referring to his role in another Aaron Sorkin-penned entertainment, The American President. Even Jeff Bridges, who was in the excellent-except-for-the-last-10 minutes The Contender (filmed, in part, rahtcheer in RVA), would've been better: a fake as opposed to a fraud.

Another guy, in a pea coat, said there was a helipad behind the DMV. The Governor uses the pad on certain occasions. The lot is also used for driving school, where those trying to get points shaved off their record can get their strikes expunged. Peacoat said there was more than one 'copter.

Guess they motorcaded POTUS from there over to the CVFB. Anyway, we got to the corner of Broad and DMV Drive, where emergency vehicles with their lights whirling added a sense of drama to this ordinary Presidential errand, and a squadron of Richmond bicycle-borne police shooed us away, though another one said, "Yall can walk up through the parking lot." Which we did, and we got far enough down the sidewalk to see--as our hanger-on mentioned--that there wasn't just one, but two dark green helicopters. Then a bike officer, a she, with a long blonde ponytail came riding up and admonished us with autoritative urgency, "Yall need to turn around and go back the way you came." As we did she offered, "Sorry about that, sorry," and rode off.

That was our at-a-distance non-encounter with POTUS. The most recent visit in these parts was for a George Allen campaign fundraiser at the Science Museum of Virginia, which is right next to the DMV. On that occasion a cloud of protestors showed up to hiss and boo the long black line of war machinist limos. The event didn't do Allen much good, though he proved that he didn't do himself many favors, either.

More later
I have a backlog of news and notes I want to get up here. For one, we went up on a bus tour to D.C. and I took in Jeremy Blake's "Wild Choir" show. I've still not watched Theresa Duncan's collaborative with Blake and artist Karen Kilimnik History of Glamour, though, and I'd like to discuss the two at once.

Also, last night, one of the reasons the Partner In Art and I can't ever agree to cancel cable, because on occasion, a good film comes on -- like Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas) -- a joint German, British, Belgian, French and Romanian production directed by Christian Caron. On Starz! which surprised me. We've seen a big portion of the film before, but as she painted and I vaccuumed and put away dishes, the confabulated story--taken from different incidents along the Western Front during the holiday season of 1914--filmed with an artist's eye and a remarkable sense of scale and human proportions--resonanted more with me as I've just finished Modris Ecksteins' brilliant Rites of Spring that recounts the cultural, intellectual and historical underpinnings of World War I's eruption, and how those same ingredients within the aftermath bred rampant, hyper-idealistic nationalism whose figuration became Hitler.

You know, the Blue Raccoon carries a mournful and neverending rememberance pertaining to that catastophic enterprise of 1914-1918, and wishes with fantastical might that the conflaguration would've never happened as known to our history.

[And yet another way: in August 1914, Germany goes on the defense in the West, respecting Belgian neutrality and thus the British have no immediate prompt for war; instead, Germany uses greater force--and airborne reconnaisance, such as was used with great effect at Tannenberg-- against Russia that liberates the Tsar's satellite states and precipitates a collapse of the Romanov government in much shorter order. Lenin need not apply. The arrangement would breed eventual civil unrest, as the Germans would extract economic concessions from the Ukrainians, Belorussians and Baltic nations, and the Kingdom of Poland, too, and that would eventually bubble over, and give a truncated Kerensky-democratic/socialist Russia enemy-of-my-enemy allies against imperial German designs. A fight would ensue, over time, with the British due to colonialist pursuits and a naval arms race. The French would become the aggressors of 1914, or, perhaps more the case, sit across the border stewing and seething and hurling anti-German slogans but not bombs, in a 1914 version of the 1939-1940 "Phony War."]

As Brane theory suggests, that in an universe next door, "in the bosom of its proper and particular God," as RVA's favorite non-adopted, un-son Edgar Allan Poe described in his befuddling Eureka--that there is a reality where 170 millions or so didn't die from WWI and its evil spawn, WWII.

The continuing horrors are thus avoided of the Soviet Union, Pol Pot, Mao, a split Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, and a chopped up and dangerous Mesopotamia. It'd be wonderful for the world to just have a different set of problems than the one like landed on the DMV helipad this morning.

Um, but that's all for later.

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