A new haircut, Angie?

A combination picture shows German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she adjusts her hair before the start of a party executive meeting in Berlin January 29, 2007. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch (GERMANY)

Hey Angie, I updated my blog! What do you think?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a thumbs up as she arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting in Berlin January 31, 2007. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz (GERMANY)


Protest Part V

As I continued in the opposite direction of the march, I spotted a bundle of American flags. I knew I had found the counter-protesters, as hippies only display American flags if they are defaced in some way. Sure enough, the Free Republic crowd was on hand, with their signs, and even a Jane Fonda doll hanging from a tree (with the sign "traitorous bitch"). The hippies would stop, chant "shame" or "enlist" or "read a book" or "who stole my weed?" while the counter-protesters would chant "USA". The crowd was considerably smaller this year, which is understandable since the war is harder and harder to defend.

Numerous times the Capitol police had to step in, mostly due to unruly protesters. After watching this zoo for a while, I decided to head out, back to the real world.

Protest Part IV

After making it up to First street, I headed toward the Supreme Court, where the Capitol police had placed a bus to block any further marching down the street.

The crowd had yet to make it up the hill, and there were only a handful of protesters who had made it up to the top, where they had to circle back (I think they later changed the route to allow them down Independence Avenue). It seemed that the boost from the organic rice cakes had proven to be inadequate for the energy the hippies needed to make it up the hill.

At the steps of the Supreme Court, a hippie dressed in fatigues with blood smeared on his body sang a couple songs which I don't think anyone understood. Lots of people gave him wierd looks, none gave any coins.

Suddenly, I spotted a crowd that had just reached the top of the hill. Their chants had longer breaks between them, giving the hippies time to catch their breath from climbing the hill. As the group passed me, I spotted Sean Penn, Jesse Jackson, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins et cetera. As the throng passed me, I drew out my camera and took a shot, catching a few of them.

Right behind them, the group of Iraq war veterans, marching with people calling them war criminals. Since they haven't turned themselves into the Hague, I guess "I was just following orders" is a just excuse now.

Protest Part III

After lunch, I ended up behind the main stage, between the stage and the Capitol building. The hippies were giddy with excitement, ready to "speak truth to power" by walking in a circle with a sign.

I usually try to anticipate the march route and walk ahead of the march, in order to see the clashes between the protesters and the counter-protesters. Unfortunately, I made a wrong turn and was suddenly caught in the middle of the march. For 15 minutes I attempted various escape routs, all to no avail. I felt like Mustafa in the Lion King when he was trapped in the water buffalo stampede. Finally I made it out, and walked up Independence Avenue, opposite the direction of the march. Like Lot's wife I turned and saw the horrifying scene of thousands of hippies, anarchists, puppets and union goons on the move, trying helplessly to coordinate their movements, and having not turned into salt I continued up the hill.

Protest Part II

While heading to the back, I passed this public hanging, and of course it was Bush, nude, strung up on the tree with red, white and blue cowboy boots. The sign read "What's good for the goose" and Bush had a sign on his chest which read "Gander":

The speakers on the main stage, including Kucinich, Conyers, and other fossils, were mostly screaming about bringing troops home, though they carefully avoided any impeachment talk. After heading toward the back of the crowd, I spotted the pro-Iranian protesters. One gentleman had an interesting, and confusing sign, which read "25,000 Jews Prefer Iran" :

I suppose Iran has 25,000 Jews living there, which to Iranians mean they have 25,000 reasons not to throw away those old pizza ovens they bought on E-Bay from Buchenwald. Or it could mean that 25,000 Jews would rather live in Iran than the US. Hey, even Dr. Kevorkian had patients. Suddenly, I began to feel a pounding in my head. Was it a headache? No, a bongo circle! No protest is complete without it, and nothing grants a young college kid immediate anti-Kultur street cred quite like straddling a bongo and banging away.

After having to feign interest in the bongo-banging in order to get close enough for a picture (few head nods to the beat, couple shoulder shakes) I headed downtown to find lunch, which ended up being some Mrs. Field's cookies from CVS (hey, Potbelly's was too busy).

Protest Part I

January 27, 2006. The day was cold, my friends, yet sunny. I made it to the mall around 10:30, and stopped by the Air and Space Museum to buy a disposable camera. Now armed, I headed out. What I saw shocked me:

The mall was mostly deserted at this time, as most of the hippies were just waking up. However, for the early birds, there was a hand puppet show, complete with acordion:

Since not much was happening on the mall, I headed a few blocks downtown, to Pennsylvania Avenue, where I spotted the herd of hippies lumbering to the mall stage.

I began to hear folk music beaming from the mall, and I knew that this would, like the scent of a lion pride on the Serengeti, spurn the hippie herd to stampede towards the music. I quickly maneouvered to outgain the hippies and made it to the grass before most of the crowd. More and more protesters were heading in from downtown and the Metro stations, and I took this opportunity to take some pics of the puppets that had gathered on the grass.

I started to circle the crowd, looking for the more outlandish of the signs. Most of the signs were the same, focusing on Iraq, Katrina, Iran and Israel. I noticed a man and woman who recently read Jimmy Carter's book (we found the person that bought it, the search is over!) and the man proudly pointed his sign toward me when he saw my camera raised and ready:
I decided to head towards the Washington Monument, and check out the flow of hippies moving in toward the stage.