Patriot/Traitor Games

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It’s on.

The deadly full contact practice on Jan. 6 that morphed into the capitulation and retaking of Capital Hill was a precursor for The Patriot/Traitor Games scheduled to kick off in earnest Jan. 16 -21.

CNN is planning full coverage wherever the carnage takes place. The action will pit neighbour against neighbour, brother against sister, daughter against father, mother against son, co-worker against co-worker, cop against cop.

Each side promises a fight to the death for the title of Patriot/Traitor.

The FBI has issued a nation-wide warning that armed attacks are imminent at every state capital in the union on the day Joe Biden assumes the Presidency. The shaken but retaken Capitol building is being touted as the safest place to hold the peaceful transfer of power. The White House was ruled out because it is in the hands of the Traitors.

The powers that be in United States national security are locking down Washington as they wipe egg from their faces. To ensure the peaceful transition of power, fences are up, the National Guard is mobilized, riots squads are drilling and the military drone operators who scope out snipers are practising flight maneuvers.

As the peaceful transfer takes place, the streets of the nation’s capital will bristle with armed men carrying automatic weapons. Their will be tanks and armoured Humvees parked discreetly nearby. And helicopter gunships overhead. Military leadership felt it necessary to remind the armed forces of their oath to the Constitution.

How did it come to this, sane people the world over ask?

To borrow a phrase from my late great friend Wayne Huk when dealing with disgruntled financial clients: “I’m not gonna say I told you so…. but I did previously inform you…” that a dark cloud hung over the U.S.

(See previous blogs Trump Exoneration America’s Indictment, The Shining City Goes Dark, Own up America, Many of You Are Deplorable and Trump’s U.S. Headed for Jonestown Finale, among others.)

Those scribblings do not make me prescient. Everyone not blinded by politics, religious fervour, conspiracy theories and cult indoctrination saw it coming.

Here’s the thing. Republicans who voted to invalidate the largest voter turnout and ‘most secure election in American history’, even after the Insurrectionist Mob chased them from their sacred chambers of democracy, did so at the behest of their craven voters.

The Cult of Trump exposed the violence, ignorance, bigotry and hypocrisy that has always been at the country’s core. Though in the minority, deplorable Trumpets loom above the American mental landscape in a dark cloud of anger and resentment, overshadowing the forgotten 82 million who turned out in record numbers for Joe Biden.

The Evil Apricot Gasbag, with the help of social media and right wing news outlets, has tapped into that bad vibe in a way that righteous Americans find appalling. They cannot fathom why so many of their countrymen believe his bafflegab.

The Malignant Mango Megalomaniac has fomented revolution with a torrent of lies about election fraud, before and after he ‘lost in a landslide’. He told his slathering Trumpets he could only lose if the election was rigged, then continued The Big Lie daily in the months after the vote was counted.  

Lie. Lie. Lie. Lie. Lie.

Lie big.

Lie loud.

Lie long.

He has been assisted in his treasonous endeavor by Republican politicians doing the bidding of the Trumpets they represent; by the profiteering media millionaires broadcasting from their estates far removed from the rubble; by the Washington Swamp’s bottom feeders and political flotsam.

The ugly, horrible, disheartening reality is tens of millions of Americans are Trumpets who revere a venal boor, a narcissistic sociopath who lies pathologically, a charity cheater who brags about assaulting women. They are drinking the Kool Aid in great gulps and are prepared to kill and maim their countrymen in the name of Dear Orange Emperor.

Many view him as a vessel of the Lord.

Think about that.

Make no mistake, cross Trump publicly and you will be wearing the hangman’s noose or slinking through the airport under guard as Trump supporters call you a “piece of shit” and a “fucking traitor”, as limp-willed Lindsay Graham discovered after declaring himself out.

Ever the survivalist, Lindsay jumped back in with Trump to tour the border wall. One last ride on Air Force One. That had to be so romantic after their recent split. Breakup sex is better than golf. He and Trump ‘have had quite a ride’, he told Senators while outing himself about the bromance with the gooey man recently called the most ‘masculine president’ in U.S. history by his press secretary.

The veiled threats of violence interlaced with the Republican calls for unity should not soften the Patriots’ stand. If Republicans want unity they would all stand up and say the election was fair and square. That Trump has been lying. They would pay tribute to the record number of voters who turned out in the Time of the Pandemic and congratulate the country on an election smoothly run under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

But they don’t want to slink through airports like limp-willed Lindsay.

The Trumpets want chaos and violence. They view Joe Biden as an illegitimate President and therefore feel justified in doing whatever it takes to make him fail.

Dear Orange Leader has not expressed even the slightest remorse over his role in the deaths of five people, including a police officer and an air force veteran who fell under his evil spell. One police officer is fighting to keep an eye.

One thing became abundantly clear as the traitor Trumpets attacked the Capitol. If Americans want to keep their democracy, the Patriot\Traitor games must be a rout. The insurrectionists must be stomped on and obliterated; the Evil Orange Windbag must be punctured and deflated with the sword of integrity; his family ostracized; his businesses bankrupted; his enablers disgraced and held to account; his traitorous minions imprisoned.

The Patriots must smash the Trump brand to smithereens, with their wallets. Ostracize the Big Orange Blowhard and his complicit family and all the companies that do business with them.

The price of treason must be too high even for the marginally unstable. This is not a time for appeasement in the name of national unity. It is a time for justice and reckoning.

Survivor – The White House Edition


Dear Trump voters…

The rational among you may have noticed your ‘businessman’ President has made a few suspect hires. The Mango Megalomaniac’s first 200 days in the Oval Office would have got him fired from The Apprentice for appalling judgement, as illustrated by a multitude of the shortest political tenures in U.S. history.

The record setting string began with National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, the shortest serving NSA ever, fired after less than a month for lying to the Vice President about his contact with the Russians.

A record that will go down in history steeped in Turkish coffee, slathered in Russian salad dressing and surrounded by the stale pizza crusts left over from conspiracy theories propagated by his son.

Then came Press Secretary Sean Spicer, fired after six months for not lying convincingly enough for the President. And because he wore ill-fitting suits, had a sparser comb-over than the boss and exhibited a limited command of English.

Spicey’s  record for ruining a reputation began with his emphatic and pictorially disprovable lie about the inaugural crowd during his first five minutes on the job.

The man the President hired to take Spicer’s place came to work with fire in his eye vowing to quell White House dissension through a scorched earth policy. Instead, Anthony “the Mooch” Scaramucci, who arrived on the press briefing scene blowing kisses and exuding an overabundance of love for the President, scorched the air waves in a profane tirade and was perp-walked off the White House grounds, his sorry ass singed and fired after 10 days. He had not yet officially assumed his duties.

The man who personified a human pinky ring holds a record for bad Presidential judgement that may never be broken,

Next came your President’s pick for the critically important post of White House Chief of Staff. The ineffectual and weak-kneed Reince Priebus, a devout Christian who declared at a banana republic cabinet ‘love-in’ that serving Trump was a blessing, was dumped like an odorous expulsion from the Narcissist-in-Chief’s dimpled fat ass.

A record in stinking up a political blessing that makes the Washington swamp smell sweet in comparison.

The latest on the list, the White House’s first political Advisor on White Supremacy, Steve Bannon, was banished back to bloviating for Brietbart, voice of the Alt Right, where he vows to wage war against anyone who tries to deflect the Infant-in-Chief from Bannon’s stated mission of figuratively blowing up the country’s institutions.

This is a record with an ominous asterisk, since the position of Advisor on White Supremacy is unique to this administration.

Consider this, denizens of Trumpland, your Reality TV hero also set a real-life firing record by becoming the first President in U.S. history to fire an FBI director who was investigating his administration. Unlike his flinty-eyed TV alter ego who cut his minions loose by staring them down across the table in a corporate boardroom, your Chicken-In-Chief sent an underling to the director’s office with a mealy-mouthed letter when he was out of town. The FBI director with a long record of public service learned about the firing on CNN.

It is understandable that those of you who first fell under the Trumpeter-in-Chief’s spell during his Reality TV days might not be overly concerned by the spate of firings. After all, most of you tuned in each week, side by each on the couch, or on matching recliners, with quivering thighs or the sexual tingling of an oncoming woody, in anticipation of hearing your hero utter his signature phrase.

If only life in America could be that great again.

The trouble is your choice to lead isn’t content with firing people. He wants to torture them too. Good people like Jeff Sessions. Your Disloyalist-in-Chief denigrated then publicly humiliated his personal pick for the highest law office in the land, hoping to goad him into resigning so he could then arrange to fire the special prosecutor investigating him for obstruction of justice and other crimes and misdemeanors.

Remember, Jeff is your guy, the first senator to endorse the man you embraced as your Commander-in-Chief. Sessions is cracking down on Dreamers and the immigrant families who are taking your jobs in the cabbage patch. He wants to ban Muslims and stop the funding to sanctuary cities. He may look like an Evil Elf but he’s claims to be a Christian who wants to expand your country’s world-leading prison industry by locking up more Americans for longer terms. He knows in his heart that people who smoke pot are bad. He stands for confederate statues and prosecuting bad people on both sides of the neo-Nazi, White Supremacy, KKK melees.

If Trump is gunning for Jeff, none of you are safe.

The Days of Swine and Orangeness


We’re not in Kansas anymore folks. We are down the Wizard of Orange’s rabbit hole in an uncharted land where the Wizard spews venom into cyberspace from a gilt-edged glass tower as his subjects squabble over the veracity and implications of his petulant inanities.

America, are you feeling great again?

The days of swine and orangeness leading up to the Mango Megalomaniac’s inauguration seem even more surreal when contrasted with the decency and grace of the outgoing Obama administration as witnessed in his thoughtful and heartfelt farewell speech.

American people, you are about to receive what you so richly deserve; unfortunately you may well take the rest of us down with you.

Let’s look at where things stand in the days and hours before the transition. We now know the Evil Orange Clown was elected with the help of America’s sworn enemy , a thieving, murderous, communist dictator on a mission to destabilize your democracy and change the world order to one with a somewhat lesser emphasis on freedom.

The man you’ve given the nuclear codes to continues to support the thug he has called a better leader than your outgoing President and instead questions the abilities and motives of the men and women in your intelligence agencies who risk their lives for your liberty, likening these patriotic sons and daughters of America to Nazis.Your Commander-in Chief has myriad worldwide financial holdings, with possible unknown interests in Russia, but still refuses to release his tax returns while bragging that he is not bound by conflict of interest guidelines. Can you say treason?

Trump’s campaign promise to Drain the Swamp in Washington notwithstanding, he has assembled a cabinet of old rich white guys of dubious provenance.

His choice for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, in 1986 was only the second nominee in 50 years to be denied a federal judgeship by the Senate because of his questionable record on race. When asked in this week’s confirmation hearing whether a secular person could understand the truth as well as a religious person Sessions silenced the room with his ignorance, “Well, I’m not sure,” he said. He is also known for saying, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” No judgement on his country’s booze swillers. A snarly swamp dog born and inbred on the bayou.

The man Trump put forward as the next Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, former head of Exxon Mobile, received a 180-million-dollar payout from the oil giant for his service, which included billion dollar oil deals with the Russians for which he was awarded that country’s Order of Friendship from the dictator/thug Vladimir Putin. An American crocodile, smooth and shiny, with sharp teeth and periscope eyes that scope out weakness.

Trump’s selection for Secretary of Defense, retired Major General James Mattis, nicknamed “Mad Dog” by the marines who served under him, earned the moniker with quotes like the one in which he outlined a rule for his troops to live by while on duty in Iraq: “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.” In keeping with the national gun obsession he has also noted, “It’s fun to shoot some people.” A heavily armed bull frog sitting on his fortified lily pad.

Showing the breadth of his questionable judgement, Trump put forward climate change denier Scott Pruitt, a highly-paid shill for the fossil fuel industry, as his man to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Despite conclusions drawn by 97 per cent of the world’s top scientists that climate change is real, Pruitt claims the issue is “far from settled.” A opportunistic snake slithering along a Cypress branch a few feet above the water, its forked tongue darting..

The Evil Orange Clown has chosen Michael Flynn as his National Security Advisor. Flynn, who led chants of “Lock her up” during the presidential campaign was fired as head of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014. A new world order fantasist, he was a semi-regular paid commentator on Russia’s state-owned propaganda Network RT and has dined with the dictator Putin. He has called the Muslim religion a “vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people that needs to be excised.” An alligator sunning on a log, ready to clamp its jaws around any unsuspecting prey and drown it in the murky water.

The swamp isn’t being drained, folks, it’s being repopulated. Are you feeling great yet, America?

Let’s exit the rabbit hole and get real for a minute. The country you never tire of telling the rest of us is ‘the greatest country in the world’ was founded on slavery and genocide. Your revered first president George Washington prospered on the backs of his slaves before, having no further use for their sweat and blood in the afterlife, released them upon his death. You bought and sold black people for a hundred years, then lynched them and denied them the right to participate in the American dream long after emancipation and continue to kill, imprison and marginalize your own citizens in the new Millennium.

You grabbed the entire land mass from sea to shining sea under a doctrine called Manifest Destiny, which essentially stated that inevitability and rule of might entitled the government to move the indigenous people who had lived on the land for thousands of years onto unsuitable reservations where they withered and died from disease and starvation. Your government broke treaty after treaty while your armies waged war against bedraggled ‘hostiles’ whose only crime was they wanted to live peacefully in their homeland. It took a maverick judge in the late 1800s to rule that Indians were people, and as such had the same rights as other Americans to live where they wanted, a ruling that your government constantly subverted to satisfy your greed for their land. George Custer and the Seventh Calvary were not massacred by the Sioux but instead were routed and killed in a battle against a superior force after Custer launched an unprovoked attack against a peaceful Indian encampment. Your troops murdered then dismembered and mutilated women and children at Sand Creek, proudly wearing female genitalia as hat bands. You paid bounties for Indian scalps.

These are facts Americans prefer to sweep under the historical carpet when they tout freedom and liberty for all.

Your so-called democracy is structured in such a way the majority does not rule, as evidenced by the election that gave you Donald Trump. The system has been perverted and corrupted by money and greed, which allows the one per cent to rule the rest through a financial coup. You profited on the First World War for years before entering the fray near its end then took credit for the victory. You got involved in the ‘last just war’ only after being attacked two years after its start, watching from the safety of your isolation while your allies took the beating. Your government and corporations have exploited and plundered the world, propping up tyrants and befriending mass murderers when it was deemed to be in your national interests, never putting a dollar in without the expectation of getting two dollars out.

You are the greatest country in the world only in the sense that you have the most powerful military and are prepared to use it. You are a divided nation rife with hypocrisy ignorance and religious extremism, a country whose citizens feel justified in murdering and meddling anywhere on the planet if it suits their end goal of materialism over all else, never giving a thought to the depredations wrought on innocents so you can have cheap gas, two cars and a big screen TV. You now practice Manifest Destiny on a global scale with a sense of entitlement that is breathtaking.

The rise of Donald Trump has been centuries in the making and he is truly a made-in-America president. While other citizens of the world can claim their subjugation to despots and dictators not of their making, Americans can offer no such defense. With all the evidence before them its citizens chose as their leader a misogynist philanderer accused of multiple sexual predations who has dedicated his life to exploiting others for material gain, an ignorant crude bully who takes pride in gaming the system, a prolific liar who intimidates and denigrates his victims, a narcissistic, megalomaniac whose position of power puts the entire planet at risk.

Do you feel great again, America?

We needed a hero in a white hat

Shortview Lincoln memorial

Remember when the Republicans had leaders like this…


The 2016 U.S. presidential election, more than any other event in recent history, has left the world feeling disillusioned. People of all stripes and political persuasions, in far off lands and countries bordering the U.S., went to bed early Tuesday night and stared at the ceiling or pulled the covers over their heads not knowing quite why they felt so bad.

Maybe it’s because things aren’t turning out the way our parents said they would. Hard work pays off, always do the right thing, treat people with respect, decency wins in the end, things work out for the better, good triumphs over evil. All the do-gooder clichés parents worldwide have been imparting to their children since the beginning of time were thrown into question on election night.

The country founded in 1776 as a nation refuge for the world’s oppressed, a place where no person was better than another because of birthright, colour of skin or religious beliefs, has been for centuries a shining beacon of hope in a sometimes dark world. A country founded on the best of human intentions. A place to go to get away from evil.

Of course, we all knew it wasn’t really so. After travelling the U.S. for six months, I paraphrased Charles Dickens in a previous blog, calling it the ‘best of countries and the worst of countries.’ However well-intentioned, the founding fathers had no problem with slavery and ignoring the rights of America’s indigenous people, who suffered cultural genocide in the name of Manifest Destiny.

No nation made up of human beings could live up to the ideals laid out in the American Constitution. The world’s oppressed suffered from bigotry and intolerance after arriving on U.S. shores, but in a lesser non-institutionalized form. The immigrants knew in their hearts the impossibility of legislating the dark side of human nature and that prejudices were inevitable. But in America bad intent was not officially sanctioned by a governing force. They could see others of their kind working hard and succeeding and held out hope for their piece of the American dream.

And so it went over hundreds of years, with good eventually winning over evil, industry over sloth. Slavery was abolished after a bloody civil war and the horrible mistreatment of indigenous people was reduced to levels a country blessed by God could live with. It was an imperfect Union that fell short of the founding fathers’ lofty ideals but a country that championed individual liberty and freedom above all else.

In the 20th Century, the little democracy that could, emerged from its isolationist stance to become the star of the world stage when American military might brought the First World War to an end. The nation came into its own as the world’s champion of freedom when it reluctantly joined the fight against the forces of evil in World War Two, its soldiers pictured in newsreels liberating European cities along streets crowded with adoring grateful crowds.

It was the dawning of the movie age and one-dimensional Hollywood heroes like John Wayne and Gary Cooper ingrained the image of the American good guy in the world consciousness. For children growing up around the globe, the United States stood for what their parents always told them. The cowboy in the white hat always draws faster and shoots straighter than the guy in black. Good wins over evil, every time.

For a brief while in the war’s aftermath, people felt safe in a world where the guys in white hats had nuclear weapons. Tensions ratcheted up when the Russians went over to the dark side and caught up, especially when Soviet ships laden with nuclear missile parts cruised towards Cuba and an American naval blockade. The world held its collective breath until the guys in black hats backed down. President John Kennedy came away as the free world’s greatest hero, the sheriff who stared down the gunslingers threatening the global community.

But with the sheriff dead by the country’s own hand, the world’s champion of freedom veered off course in the sixties, allowing paranoia about the spread of communism to overshadow the founding fathers’ original intent. Innocent people in a far-off land died by the tens of thousands, their blood on the hands of the guys in white hats.

With U.S. losses mounting and the nation being torn apart internally by opposition to what was clearly an unjust war, the nation’s leaders refrained from resorting to scorched earth annihilation of a far weaker foe and left the battlefield, if not defeated, then certainly chastised by world opinion with their white hats tattered and somewhat soiled. In the sense that the U.S. had shown military restraint and walked away without obliterating the enemy, it could be perceived that once gain good had triumphed over evil.

America began its next war of note on higher moral ground, ostensibly to liberate Kuwait, its weak but oil-rich Middle East ally. Most of the free world watched with pride as President George Bush Sr. told the murderous black-hatted Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein that his aggression in Kuwait ‘Would not stand.’

With overwhelming military superiority and complete control of the air, the U.S. made short work of the vaunted Iraqi army, leaving scores of enemy soldiers smouldering in charred heaps by the side of the highway as its army marched towards Baghdad. With Kuwait free and the tyrant sufficiently chastened, the guys in white hats pulled back on the military reins, keeping civilian casualties to a minimum, and brought the troops home. Good beat evil again.

Fears of a worldwide computer glitch aside, the 20th Century ended on a high note for the country that had emerged as the world’s only Super Power. Russia couldn’t keep up with its military spending and the Cold War was over, and with it the specter of nuclear annihilation. Its white hat image had mostly survived the fiasco in Vietnam and its various intrusions into the affairs of sovereign nations, including supporting despots and its hand in assassinating democratically elected leaders who weren’t deemed in keeping with U.S. interests.

Keeping the world free sometimes required putting your white hat aside and getting down and dirty with the bad guys. Reasonable people could see that.

The first unsettling rumbling that things might not go as smoothly for the world’s oldest democracy in the new Millennium came in the 2000 presidential election. Despite winning the popular vote, the Democratic candidate Al Gore lost to Republican George Bush Jr. in the closest presidential election in American history, with 537 votes separating the candidates in the decisive state of Florida, then coincidentally or not run by Bush’s brother Jeb. The result triggered an automatic recount which resulted in litigation that ultimately reached the Supreme Court, which gave the election to Bush in a 5-4 decision.

The Democrats reluctantly went along with the ruling and an orderly transition of power ensued but a shadow had been cast over the democratic process amid dark rumors that the election had been stolen.

The implications of that Supreme Court decision will be reverberating through the world for decades to come. While the dovish Gore went on to champion the environment, Bush surrounded himself in power with conservative hawks who saw foreign enemies everywhere, but especially in the Middle East where they viewed the job in Iraq had been left undone by Bush senior. When 9/11 shocked the world and shook the nation to its foundations, the hawks seized on the opportunity.

The good guys had a new villains to fight and the open-ended global War on Terrorism was officially launched with a strike against Afghanistan and the governing Taliban who harbored Osama Bin Laden. But the arch-villain of terrorism escaped and the hawks turned their attention to an old adversary, the  tyrant in a black bowler hat, Saddam Hussein.

In behind the scenes scheming to justify an attack on Iraq, the line between good and evil began to blur. Weapons of mass destruction were imagined and then used as a rationalization that would take the country to war on false pretenses. This time the army wouldn’t rein up short of Baghdad but would take the whole country regardless of the cost to innocent civilians.

Unlike Vietnam, an unjust war fought on the ill-conceived premise that creeping communism would threaten the world order, the second Iraq conflict was motivated by revenge and presented an opportunity for certain American companies, one of which had close connections to Bush’s powerful Vice President Dick Cheney, to reap huge profits. It destabilized the Middle East, resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, displaced millions of people and virtually bankrupted the U.S. No one could seriously say the world was better off after this unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation.

The U.S. wore the black hat in the Iraq war and the world began to view the country differently in the new century. The election of its first black president, with his campaign slogan “Yes We Can’, burnished the image somewhat but also brought out the country’s darkness as the far-right Tea Party emerged from under the rocks to hijack the Republican Party, bringing long suppressed bigotry back into the political mainstream. The far-right movement received financial backing from shadowy citizen groups with patriotic sounding names funded by top one per cent power brokers like the billionaire Koch brothers, whose father was a founding member of the John Birch Society.

With money flowing to the top one per cent and the middle class disappearing many people see their American Dream fading. Some believe the country is undergoing a slow-moving financial coup, in which corporations are the real power fronted by political puppets who do their bidding to keep their jobs.

Enter Donald Trump the improbable billionaire born with a silver spoon in his mouth who won by claiming to be the guy who’s going to make America Great Again for the working stiffs. The man who will drain the Washington swamp. Throughout the campaign he displayed an appalling ignorance about world affairs and a temperament unsuited to be Commander-In Chief of the world’s most powerful nation. By his own words he showed himself to be a braggart and a bully, a pathological liar, a misogynist, a sexual predator, a bigot.

He is so obviously not the person our parents told us should win. Not the good guy of few words whose actions do the talking. Not a person worthy of the revered Oval Office once occupied by Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy and Obama. America you have let us all down. We’re pulling the blankets over our heads because the world has lost its hero nation. You gave us an evil orange clown when we needed a hero in a white Stetson hat.

A Plethora of Presidents

Martha 2

Somehow I expected something fancier

Did you know George Washington had wooden teeth? Learn this and many other fun facts when The Meandering Maloney’s go to Washington.

But first we have to finish with Cape Cod, home of the famous houses, rolling dunes, impossibly twee towns, expensive real estate, and the Kennedy’s.

Pickle jar

Never, ever, wear white after Labour Day

Along the Cape, the salty sea air is laced with the smell of money. Old money. Big money. Homeowners give a shout out to the season with fall decorative displays that would not look out of place in the windows of Macy’s. Not the Dollar Store displays and misshapen gourds I’ve been known to throw together before a dinner party, but Martha Stewart dioramas. Life-size straw-stuffed figures perched on hay bales with massive, perfectly round pumpkins and gourds surrounding them, all tastefully arranged to induce maximum decorating envy.

Barbie collection

For some Cape Codder’s it’s all about messing with your neighbours Barbies (or is that Bahbee)

Martha’s Vineyard is a must stop, even though it requires leaving the truck behind for a ferry crossing. The name is ingrained in the plebian mind as a place where the really rich and famous buy houses and hobnob with other rich and famous people. Tennis anyone? How about an afternoon of sailing on my 100 ft. mahogany sloop. We plebes take the ferry over, sans truck. Surprise, surprise, La Dog is welcome aboard, though putting a leg up on the ferry railing to let other snooty pooches know you’re around is discouraged.

Dog on ferry

Always the gentleman, The Dog refrains from sniffing butt while boarding

How many gift shops can be crammed into a two-hour visit? Answer: ten, with a stop for fudge. It still leaves time for a stroll past waterfront mansions set so far from the street we can barely see the crews of gardeners tending the manicured lawns. We dip our toes in the water by the yacht club before heading back to the ferry. After our brush with wealth, we leave Martha’s with wallets only lightened by the price of New York style pizza slices. Even Cape Codders know who makes the best pizza.

NY skyline 2

A view of the NY skyline from the turnpike will have to do this time

Back to George and those wooden teeth. Our original plan included a stop in New York, where RVers put down across the water in Jersey on sites without sewer hookups for $U.S 80. A ferry takes them into Manhattan past the Statue of Liberty. Since this is a trip without a plan, we blasted past New York with a fond wave at the distant new World Trade Centre, promising to come back another time.

Navigating the Big Apple’s freeways is like playing bumper cars for keeps. Leave a sensible 20-foot between you and the vehicle in front and a car, truck or transport will swerve past your bumper to fill the gap. Moving over four lanes to get to your exit while pulling a 10,000-pound fifth wheel dwarfs any fairground ride you’ve ever taken on the excitement meter.

We enter the Jersey Turnpike on the advice of Gertrude, who tells us it’s the fastest route to Washington but fails to inform us about the modern day highwaymen along the way. The roadside robbers disguise themselves as toll-booth attendants who cheerfully (Who am I kidding. They’re not cheerful; they live in Jersey for gawd’s sake.) demand money at frequent intervals. Stand and deliver, driver from B.C.

Leaving Foxwoods down to Washington DC night tour 070

They missed the sign about rights to your first born

The Dude literally sputtered at the end of the Turnpike when the booth bandit demanded $U.S. 42.50. After quickly calculating the risks of blowing through the booth and the high-speed freeway chase that would follow, the Dude grudgingly handed over a wad of the now spittle-soaked money we didn’t spend in Martha’s. The fact we were the only RV on the turnpike should have been the first clue.

Cherryhill Park outside Washington is the gold standard by which all other parks will be measured. If they don’t have it, it doesn’t exist. You need transportation, they’ve got it. Worried about getting around in Washington, they have an orientation session with all the stuff you need to know and stuff you didn’t know you needed to know. Need tickets for anything remotely touristy, they’ve got it. Need to eat, hey, they’ve got a reasonably priced restaurant on site that has ice cream. Feel like staying in and watching a movie. No problem. They deliver delicious pizza to your RV’s doorstep. Need clean clothes; they’ve got a laundromat the size of an airport hangar.

Campground office

Note the giant Bald eagle to the right, in case you didn’t realize you were officially in the United States

Finishing the orientation session, we spontaneously purchase a night bus tour leaving in half an hour. The free shuttle bus to town is driven by a guy we’ll call Bunk, after the character in The Wire. Those who know The Dude might recall his love affair with the HBO series. He’ll even lend you the DVD’s so you can join the club. But I digress. Bunk the driver is a former basketball player, good enough to get a full ride to university. We’re his only passengers and he’s happy to share stories of his youth, the subsequent addition of the 50 or so pounds that forced him to switch from basketball player to coach of his kids’ teams and the reality of daily life in Washington, a city that cheerfully supports losing sports teams because politics is the real blood sport.

Arlington cemetary

Arlington Cemetery by night

Washington by night is surreal. The softly lit city looks all warm and fuzzy from the safety of the open-air double-decker. Iconic landmarks like the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial literally glow in the dark. We were advised at the-campground-that-has-everything to bring flashlights for walking around the areas like the Vietnam wall and the Martin Luther King monument.

Shortview Lincoln memorial

It is even more impressive in person, now if only all those pesky tourists weren’t in the way

The Lincoln memorial is astounding. A marvelous sculpture that rivals Michelangelo’s David for its exquisite detail, it commands the viewer’s attention from its colonnaded perch overlooking the national mall. Lincoln beats out David for his historical significance and the fact the sculptor kept his pants on.

The White House appears mundane in comparison. After a lifetime of viewing the presidential residence in the context of life-changing historical events, it seems much smaller in reality, like revisiting an old house that looms large in childhood memory. More interesting was the make-shift structure of an enterprising protester at the edge of the park across the street. A quick perusal of his placards reveals his general dissatisfaction with Keystone, GMO’s, Nuclear weapons and Justin Biebers new hairstyle.

whitehouse & protest signs

A tale of two houses

Mount Vernon, the historic plantation home of George and Martha Washington, is mecca to patriotic Americans and a must-see tourist stop. The man with wooden teeth is a study in contrasts. A fearless soldier who defied great odds in leading his bedraggled troops against the British, he was foremost a businessman and farmer who preferred life at the plantation to the corridors of power in Washington. He kept slaves and buried them in unmarked graves in a wooded area far from the house but was a benevolent slave-owner who decreed in his will that upon his death all his slaves would become free. Most stayed on to work his farms, of which he owned five, and his distillery and mills.

George Washington farm

Recreating the past at Mount Vernon, shameful parts and all

Perhaps the biggest surprise of our Washington stay was the city’s affordability. Penny-pinching RVers can get around on the impressive transit system, visit all the free war memorials, of which there are too many for a country that purports itself to be a peace-loving nation, and occupy themselves from morning to night without breaking the bank. Public buildings around the National Mall even encourage tourists to eat in their inexpensive cafeterias.

Smithsonian African Elephant

Wanna see this at the Natural History Museum…it’s free

Assorted missiles

How about a couple of Cold War missiles….also free

Lady liberty

Prefer a little culture in your museums….free

Air & Space

How about the history of flying anyone?….you got it…free

All the Smithsonian’s are free. Gratis. I say all the Smithsonian’s, because although it is one institution the bulk of its exhibitions are spread around the National Mall in 11 locations, each with a different theme. There are 19 locations in all, 17 of them in Washington. The bigger ones, like the Museum of Natural History and the Air and Space Museum, are so comprehensive a full day of gawking doesn’t do them justice. We spent a half-hour in the American History Museum playing the Price is Right at one of the interactive displays in the pop culture section. Overpowering, awe-inspiring, stupefying, whatever superlative you choose won’t be overstating the Smithsonian experience.


Leave it to Bill to have the weirdest portrait

The multi-level National Portrait Gallery was of particular interest, despite our limited knowledge and interest in art. The Presidential Gallery pays tribute to every U.S. president, from multi-portrait displays of Washington and Lincoln to a modest portrait of disgraced Richard “I am not a crook’ Nixon. Bill Clinton takes up an entire wall in a connect-the-dots modernistic interpretation of the man ‘who did not have sexual relations with that woman.’ Other rooms off the tiled hallways that are themselves works of art, house portraits of famous Americans from Elizabeth Taylor to the writer William Faulkner, from Einstein to Marilyn Monroe. Katherine Hepburn’s display includes her four Best Actress Oscars.

Washington monument

The iconic Washington monument as seen from the World War I & II monuments, which are just down from the Lincoln memorial and across from the Vietnam War memorial and they’re all fantastic, wear good shoes when visiting

With heads filled to bursting with information and a better understanding of what it means to be an American, we point the Mean Machine south, to the place where the first shot was fired in the bloody war that almost ended the American dream. (Yes, there is a Civil War memorial in Washington but in these politically correct times it is now called The War Between the States.)


And finally what’s a visit to Washington without a bit of democratic protest by a guy who clearly didn’t get the Labour Day memo about wearing white

Next: On to Charleston to experience southern hospitality and our first taste of grits.