Party animals take to Washington
CNN Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federal design panel released an $800 million plan to beautify the security barriers that have taken over Washington since September 11, replacing them with fountains and planters and low stone walls that match the monuments.
Good idea -- but too late for this week's political Play of the Week.
Who needs to spend $800 million? Washington's Commission on the Arts and Humanities already has brightened the city for half a million dollars.
How? By commissioning 200 decorated party animals.
Ever see a donkey in a tutu? How about an elephant bride?
"We wanted it to be whimsical but honor the tradition of Washington, D.C., our nation's capital," artist Naomi Bloch explained.
Talk about patriotism -- we've got Uncle Sam and Captain America.
The figures are just in town for a while, as tourists -- although some have joined the media circus.
"We've become so attached to our donkey and elephant that we've given them nicknames," Bloch said. "So, donkey is Mrs. Stars, and this is Stripes. So they'll always be here together in D.C. -- Stars and Stripes forever."
But one keen observer noticed something strange.
"I was driving by this very one, and I said to my son, 'Why is there a decorated mule on K street?' " Carol Keefer, a Washington resident, wrote in a letter to the editor to the Washington Post on Monday. "But I was quickly told that it was actually a donkey -- that there were elephants and donkeys. So then I thought, 'Well, that's odd.' So I looked at lots of so-called donkeys and they all had mules' tails."
There's a big difference, as anyone who's ever played pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey would know: "A donkey has a cow's tail, which is sort of skin and fur and a fluffy bit at the bottom. And a mule has a horse's tail," Keefer said.
You think someone was making a political statement?
"I hope what they're not trying to say is that the Democratic Party are impotent, as mules are sterile," Keefer added.
Actually, it was an artistic statement. The city says the mule's tail provided a smoother canvas for the artists, and art came before politics.
The party animals beat the federal planning commission to the punch, at a fraction of the cost. Party on, guys! You've won the political Play of the Week.
Washington is full of political jackasses, but these are the only ones that have ever amused and beautified the city.
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