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Draplin Design Co., North America


DAY 01, FROM LAST NIGHT: We got into Baltimore, caught a shuttle down to capital, braving some traffic along the way. Beltway bastards! (I’ve been waiting to say that one for many moons.)

We found Leigh’s friends Seth and Katie, unloaded and headed out into the city. We had supper at a little corner bar called Mr. Henry’s, they headed home and we headed over to the mall, to brave the invigorating 7° DC night. Colder than a Condi press briefing!

We walked up on that big Washington monument, and, as a teenager scarred by the punk rock, my mind went to that old Dead Kennedys lyrics from the epic, “The Stars and Stripes of Corruption.”

Like a great eternal Klansman
With his two flashing red eyes
Turn around he’s always watching
The Washington monument pricks the sky
With flags like pubic hair ringed ‘round the bottom

This is where my mind was, mouthing those lyrics in the cold DC night. Real patriotic, eh?

Five degrees out. Just the two of us on the mall. Big monument. Frozen fingers.

Here’s some shots from our late night walk: “DDC vs. DC, Day 01”

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DAY 02: Got up good and early, feeling excited, wide-eyed and ready for anything.

After a quick Metro ride we were in front of Ford’s Theater, thinking about President Lincoln’s fateful night, and the boy who held Wilkes-Booth’s horse out back for him. Across the street is the house Lincoln died in, some nine hours after the assassination. Small, sad quarters.

Our second stop was the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. The big news was the new George Bush portrait. And of course, how fittingly awkward the thing was. I mean, of course. I had to see the thing.

This was an incredible couple of hours. Contemporary photographs, and all the way back to early American paintings of forefathers, diginitaries and famous Native Americans. Incredible.

My favorite thing of the National Portait Gallery was Lincoln’s “Penny Portrait.” No bigger than a credit card, that little image holds so much weight in the fabric of America. I stood there, drooling, for some time. Amazing.

Bush’s portrait, as expected, was characteristically uninspiring. That shit-eating grin, hunched over on a couch at “The Ranch” in Crawford, where, oddly enough, he spent 35 percent of his so-called Presidency “on vacation.” Eight years in office. 2800 days on top. 900 spent on vacation. Something like that. Public service, alright.

Our fourth stop was the International Spy Museum. Super fun. All sorts of nasty doohickies, tall tales, artifacts, sinister plots and other cloak-and-dagger exploits. Pretty slick and worth the 18 bucks.

The Cold War artifacts were the best. All awkward and wonky, it’s incredible those guys got away with what they got away with, toting those hunks of shit around Moscow or whatever.

Our fifth stop was the National Museum of Crime & Punishment. Not bad, not bad. Too many interactive deals, with the random artifact from a wild west gunfighter, mobster or serial killer. We hammered through it quickly, pausing to gawk at the America’s Most Wanted “live set” in the basement. John Walsh, keep up the good work.

Speaking of criminal acts, I broke the law. I snapped a number of flashless photographs throughout the National Portrait Gallery. Silent but deadly. Sadly, Leigh “Rogue Snap” McKolay was flagged pretty quickly and gently asked to refrain from taking photos. Me, I got way with way too many shots, and you can view our second day in D.C. right here: “DDC vs DC, Day 02”

We rounded out the night with a all-too-appropriate viewing of Frost/Nixon at a downtown theater. Pretty intense. I need to watch those tapes now in full.

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THIS JUST IN FROM CAMP PINEY: Cut & Paste Portland! You got skillz? Come battle it out. I’m a judge, and won’t be going easy on anyone. Serious analytical science in my thinker that night. Gonna be fun. Lots of Piney and Sunny, which is always cool. See you there, you badasses.

There Are 4 Comments

How fitting is it that Bush is sitting for his portrait. First time a president is painted sitting. Kinda sums up his presidency. No tie either. Good riddens.

Posted by: Michyalira on 01/18/09 at 7:37 AM

The shots from inside the gallery reminded me of the crazy amount of free high resolution advertisements available at the library of congress site, I’m sure you have seen it but worth re-iterating this time in history…

Posted by: tmbrudy on 01/18/09 at 9:53 AM

Make sure you make it to Arlington and give a quick moment of silence while you are there at chuck’s best friends grave…you can find him on the map in the visitors center..David B Scott Lt (JG) US Navy..enjoy it!

Posted by: Tara on 01/18/09 at 4:43 PM

When I found out you were going, I was immediately less sad about not making the trip personally. The Draplin view is always excellent.

A fine ambassador, you.

And a fine day for sure.

Posted by: Glass on 01/20/09 at 6:07 AM
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