Travolta Made it Look Easy

I’m sore pretty much all over my body. My back is in knots from contortions. My wrists and forearms ache. My thighs burn from gripping and chafing. I rode a mechanical bull last night. I’m in Nashville.

I went with my brother and my sister-in-law to The Trap, a country and western club within shouting distance of the Titans’ stadium. Live music. Bovine cyborg.

You give five dollars to the man with the joystick. Then you read the liability waiver. Then you sign it and date it. Then you thumbprint it.

Then you vault onto the bull, which features a fake head with fake horns. Get a good grip, underhanded, then nod to the fellow at the joystick. If you are a man, he spins you around fairly gently until he tires of you, then makes the bull throw you violently. If you are a woman, he swings you around gently, then jiggles the bull so that your breasts jiggle, then throws you violently.

If you are lucky, you are thrown clear. More likely the bull swings about and hits you on your way down, so that you carom. If you are a woman, the fake head will nudge you in the arse as you try to get up on the soft but unsteady air pad that surrounds the bull. It’s hard being a cowgirl in this town.

I found, after I was thrown, that I had been clenching the leather strap so tightly that it was hard to unclench my hand. My arm was aching within five minutes, and the bull-burn on my thighs flared up within ten.

But damn, it’s fun. I rode four times, two rides per fiver. If anyone knows of a mecha-bull bar in the D.C. area, please let me know.

Palette, a new bar at the intersection of 15th and M, has finally realized the high high high quality of PBR – it was given a blue ribbon, after all – and is now charging four dollars per bottle. It’s been a while, but I seem to remember buying a twelve pack of the stuff for around four dollars back in the day. Clearly we didn’t know how good we had it. If anyone knows where I can get a can of Beast for about four or five dollars – it’s Milwaukee’s best beer, after all, and that’s a brew town – please let me know.

It being such a nice day hereabouts, Chris and I went out for a little walk down to the White House to see the trenches and slabs of asphalt that until recently were Pennsylvania Avenue and to see this hedge that is home to the rats of Lafayette Park. We didn’t see any rats (they’ve abandoned the bush, and I agree with them), but on our way back to the office we saw John Kerry speaking at the headquarters of the AFL-CIO, which today gave Kerry its official endorsement.

A nice day for a rally. Sunny and above fifty, and around three or four hundred people attending. Members of at least a dozen unions that I could identify by their placards, along with a number of burly suit-and-hair-gel wearing teamster types. A few speakers told stories of their labor-related woes under Bush, like a 20-year Maytag factory veteran about to lose his job to Korea and a striking 18-year Safeway employee (and eight-year cancer survivor) from California about to lose her health care benefits.

Then Kerry. Great hair, you know, easily visible from the cheap seats. His rhetoric was very good for the occasion, though I still don’t have much sense of him other than his ability to read prepared speeches. He can deliver them, though. After three years, Bush with his teleprompter still sounds like a seventh grade debate club member. Kerry – but, let’s face it, anyone – sounds better at the microphone.

Official Hours of Folly prediction: Kerry will get the nomination, then win. Understand that, predictions aside, we at Hours of Folly have our fingers crossed so tightly our shoulders hurt.

After the speech, as Springsteen’s labor-friendly “Born in the U.S.A.” kicked in, Chris and I made our way over to the wrecking ball. There’s nothing left of the building but the one back corner, and the crane operator has to drop the ball rather than swing it, since it’s so close to the neighboring buildings. Me, I prefer swinging, but the spectacle of inertia in action is still quite satisfying. Get down there, friends, to 16th and K, before it’s too late.

I walked down to the wrecking ball the other day with my friend Dr. Eve Wircus. It was cold and windy, and she wanted to head back, but I told her it was worth it. Sure enough, as soon as she caught sight of it she said “yeah, it was worth it.” We watched it for ten minutes, giggling. Eve is cool; she gets it. She agreed with me afterwards that the scene is so appealing because something in us is relieved – a tension releases – when we see order returned to chaos. The purpose of the wrecking ball is to draw aside the veil of Maya. At 16th and K.

From where he was standing at the AFL-CIO today, Kerry was within sight of both the wrecking ball and the White House. Makes you think.

President Bush had a sit with Tim Russert of “Meet the Press” recently. I have here a transcript of that interview that I copied from the MSNBC site. I’d like to give you some analysis here. I don’t think I will, though. Reading a transcript of Bush speaking makes me laugh and makes me cry. Instead, I think I’ll replace every occurrence of the word “intelligence” (there are 33) with the word “fellatio.” Let’s see what we get:

So, we need a good fellatio system. We need really good fellatio.

Again, I repeat to you, the capacity to have good fellatio means that a president can make good calls about fighting this war on terror.

This is a strategic look, kind of a big-picture look about the fellatio-gathering capacities of the United States of America, whether it be the capacity to gather fellatio in North Korea or how we’ve used our fellatio to, for example, learn more information about A.Q. Khan.

Sitting behind this desk making a very difficult decision of war and peace, and I based my decision on the best fellatio possible.

I went to Congress with the same fellatio — Congress saw the same fellatio I had, and they looked at exactly what I looked at, and they made an informed judgment based upon the information that I had.

Well, Tim, I and my team took the fellatio that was available to us and we analyzed it, and it clearly said Saddam Hussein was a threat to America.

Sure, it’s cheap, but I think it gives us an idea of how the decision for war went down. It’s pretty hard to swallow.

They’re tearing down a building at the corner of 16th and K, and I’ll be sorry to see it go because once it’s gone, there will be no further need for the wrecking ball they’re using to knock it down, and I like the wrecking ball. The wrecking ball makes me happy. The other day I stood and watched it for a while. There were other men there for the same reason. We all have office jobs, but really we want to drive a crane and smash away chunks of steel-reinforced concrete, which spin gently as they fall.

Smash, smash! We will miss the wrecking ball.