Published September 27, 2005
Demonstrators Invade D.C.
The protesters invaded Washington over the weekend.
From stem cell research advocates to Cindy Sheehan (search) sympathizers, protesters of all shapes, sizes, colors and odors found a cause.
Unfortunately for me — since I was traveling by train — a whole lot of them originated from or passed through New York's Penn Station, and a train delay made matters worse.
A steel girder collapsed on the tracks just outside of the station, and it was just what the doctor ordered for a bunch of anxious, ready-to-protest-just-about-anything, jobless folks — err, demonstrators — who gathered with their anti-Bush cardboard signs and their 1967-era wardrobe.
As if the tie-dyed clothes weren't stereotypically Grrring enough, they just couldn't help but to break into song.
Yup. You guessed it. "All we are saying, is give peace a chance." Yeah, all I'm saying is get a grip.
A lot of these people would join a rally against Dr. Suess if "Sam I Am" actually ate his green eggs and ham earlier in the book. I'm actually surprised PETA hasn't called for a widespread burning of the popular children's tome.
Of course, the right to demonstrate against one's government is the mark of a true democracy. Unfortunately for my nasal passages and sense of smell, most of the demonstrators feel that the mark of a true democracy is the right not to bathe.
At lunch at D.C.'s Union Station with fellow FNC staffers Jason Ehrich, Andrea Macey and Alyson Donnelly, we were treated to more anti-Bush fodder from a trio of demonstrators who appeared not to have taken showers for at least three months.
What is it about protesters and poor hygiene? Maybe they double as anti-war and pro-water conservationists?
Meanwhile, while Sheehan and Joan Baez (search) regaled the 100,000-strong crowd at the White House, we took off to watch "Special Report" anchor Brit Hume throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals/New York Mets game at RFK Stadium.
After a successful shoot there, I was treated to a return trip to N.Y. on the train equipped with a bunch of now sweaty, loud and even smellier protesters who recounted to each other the day's events. Lucky me.
One complete Obliviot — who splayed out her bare feet on the empty seat next to her (no wonder it was empty) — watched her camcorder with full audio of the day's protests.
Apparently, someone who was in the general vicinity of her camera had one of those siren bullhorns you hear at high school football games, and I was forced to listen to its wail for the majority of the ride home.
The 19-year-old behind me talked on her cell phone with her obviously disapproving parents and she argued relentlessly why she had the right to waste her time and travel to D.C. for a "good cause."
"Why is it every time I talk with you we get into an argument. You know, Joan Baez was there. Isn't she your age? Hello? Hello?"
The woman with the camcorder and the bare feet is now flossing her teeth. I kid you not.
She's got a long thread of floss hanging down from her mouth and her hands are going back and forth. Yup, she just spit on the Amtrak floor. Your proud protesters, ladies and gentlemen. Thankfully I let my cameraman go before I made this trip. You're spared.
The person in front of me is eating the most foul smelling Chinese food. Why do people insist on eating odiferous foods in public places like trains? You've got to be kidding me. These people are complete Oblivions, but hey, who am I to protest their right to free assembly?
They think they're making a difference?
All they are doing is causing a ruckus in places that don't matter. Penn Station? Union Station? Yeah, sing to your heart's content, you're wasting your time.
President Bush isn't even at the White House. He's in Colorado monitoring Hurricane Rita. He can't hear you.
Oh, but then again, global warming is Bush's fault, so by default, all hurricanes from here on out are Bush's fault.
Okay, now someone is singing protest songs, and boy, the Barry Gibb falsetto complete with shaky notes is really beautiful. I mean, sign me up to your cause right now!
I'm jealous of Jason and Andrea right now. They're on a plane, and Alyson stayed behind with her brother John who lives and works in D.C.
Oooh, yum. The Chinese food odor is making me really hungry for some grotesque smelling Chinese food. Do you think they'll deliver if I call ahead to the next stop? Maybe I'll order something with extra garlic.
Awww, now the 19-year-old is crying, saying "I love you, I love you, can you hear me? I love you Daddy." Touching, really. She appears to be drunk out of her mind, by the way. Not that I couldn't use a stiff Johnny Walker Black right about now. "Hello? Hello?" Why can't she understand that cell service is not so good on the train line from Washington to points north?
These demonstrators are the kind of people who force otherwise pleasant Amtrak employees to make announcements like, "In case you haven't noticed, this is a sold out train. Therefore remove your items, your bare feet, your picket signs, your papers, laptops, jackets and everything else from the seat next to you. If you don't, we will be happy to charge you for the extra seat."
More singing from two seats behind me. I can't contain myself. If only I were an A&R executive from Virgin Records. I'd have the next Barry Gibb signed up by the time I reached Philadelphia. Joan who?
You know, after such a touching display of human nature from the protesters, I might have to call on the president to pull all of our troops out of Iraq. I mean, surely the good folks on this train would much rather have Iraq fend for itself right about now.
Hey look, I just happened to be on the anti-war protest line. There were a few hundred pro-war demonstrators as well, and I bet their train home was equally amusing. Next time I'll be sure to get on that line to Grrr! that bunch too, although I bet their train was heading to points south.
But right now, pray for me. Grrrr!
* I don't know about you, but I don't open any e-mail with the subject line "Funny." My friend sends me about 10 "Funny" emails every day. I don't read them. I don't even open them. In fact, I created a rule that deletes all e-mails with the word "Funny" in the subject line.
* Andy Rooney's "60 Minutes" piece on Sunday about Peter Jennings funeral was terrific, except for his rhetorical question of "How many of you have 2,800 friends?" Yeah, I'm sure Peter knew all of those people intimately.
* Is Jon Stewart a full-fledged member of the accredited press? I know he's "important" in the world of broadcasting, but when did anchoring a fake news broadcast become an invitation to the memorial of a real news anchor? Were they close friends? (Yes, I like Stewart. No, I'm not jealous that I wasn't at the memorial or of Stewart's success — but if you want to e-mail me those questions, make sure you put the word "Funny" in the subject line).
* What are the protesters saying? Oh yeah, "give peace a chance." Duh. Of course. Why didn't I think of that? Where would we be without John and Yoko?
* Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher are reportedly married now. Reports state they had a "traditional" Kabbalah ceremony? How long does a religion have to be in effect before a ceremony can be termed "traditional?" As for the age difference, men have been swapping out their first wives for younger ones for years, and it's a wholly accepted — if not Grrring — practice. I say more power to Demi. I'm not a fan of either, but for once it's a woman who gets to have her young cake and eat it too. But I hope Ashton gets the alimony when this marriage goes south. Now that would be real equality.
* You're nobody until you get Grrr'd.