I couldn’t have any less desire to write, and I couldn’t have any less to say. Of course I have to write two pieces tonight. This is one. It will be short and lousy. The other will be longer and underwhelming.

Part of the problem is a chicken sandwich - it does not seem to understand that its destiny lies to the south, not the north. The sandwich was based around a frozen “fillet” that required no thawing - just throw it on the grill and gaze in amazement as the brick-sized slab shrinks to the size of a credit card. “Contains 21% solution” said the package, which mystified me at first; it’s like saying “contains 79% irresolute conclusion.” I gather that “solution” means some sort of flavoring fluid that puffed up the size of the filet, and sizzled away as the heat hit Henny Penny's sundered bosom. The result was both slimy and tough, which is standard for your octopus-based food groups but unnerving in a chicken sandwich. No one else seems poisoned, so I blame my own chronic dyspepsia. My problem, I think, is that I eat too fast. If you had to eat my cooking you would too. No wonder Gnat has decided to live on ketchup alone. So far so good; she thrives.

Then I took a nap. It was nice, but I slept on my eyeball. Somehow I mashed the side of my face against my arm, distending the eyeball, and it took half an hour for the thing to shed its scrim of moisty fuzz and focus again.

The other part of the problem is that there is simply nothing to write about, because soon there will be everything to write about. We’ve been sitting at the top of the rollercoaster for about five months now. Today I saw a NEWS ALERT that suggested there might be another UN resolution that would extend inspections another three weeks, and I nearly shed my skin. No, please no. I cannot take another three weeks of UN maneuverings, another three weeks of haughty diplomats lecturing down to the rest of us, another three weeks of pretending Cameroon matters, another three weeks of ignoring the fact that Mexico - Mexico! - is holding out. And incidentally, isn’t that instructive? I don’t think Mexico is peeved that we haven’t signed Kyoto or the ICC, and I don’t think the Mexican population is ready to take to the streets to protest the withdrawal from the ABM treaty. I was under the impression that Bush and Fox had a warm relationship. Apparently not. Fine. Mine the borders.

Just kidding. But really, it’s gotten to the point where there’s nothing to say. The needle’s in. I don’t care what the syringe contains- if you’re going to push the plunger, push it.

Just to show how behind the curve I am: I’ve discovered Internet Radio! Yes, I know - wait until I learn about rollover buttons and the blink tag. I’m still poking along with a dial-up modem, and scratchy mono music feeds that pause every 40 seconds to rebuffer the stream don’t really compare to, say, that old-fangled radio that comes through the walls and the windows. But now I have this stream-ripper program called Audio Hijack; it captures any audio source, from DVDs to Internet streams, and I’ve set it to work on some WW2 stations, as well as Old-Time Radio feeds. The OTR stuff sometimes has a dead & creepy feel to it, like it’s a radio playing in a basement of a house filled with skeletons. I love this stuff - but I will not succumb to OTR geekhood, which seems a uniquely dorky sort of fandom. No insult intended, but nearly every page devoted to old radio is as ugly as a shaved macaque; the pages have that interminable c. 1996 length - when you get to the bottom of the page you expect to find Satan’s teethmarks. There’s always some hairy GIF of an old cathedral radio. It confirms the general, and obvious, rule: radio devotees are not visual people.

Ugly as they are, I’m finding lots of useful material - old commercials, sound effects, peculiar remarks, portentous musical cues. They’ll be stored away for future use . . .

. . . whatever that might be, he said, suggestively.

Back to work. I’m happy to report that the chicken sandwich has been disassembled and taken away for debriefing. If I finish the column in the next hour I can watch a few scenes from “Sink the Bismarck” before I go to bed. Interesting movie - it stars a fellow who played Lightoller, the can-do White Star navvie from “A Night to Remember” - apparently he was the epitome of Steady British Naval Resolve in the post-war years. (He has a fetching WREN sec’y, as well.) The scenes in the subterranean offices of the Admiralty are remarkably subdued; the war seems to be a deuced spot of bother bound to blow over any day now, but damned unpleasant in the clinch, eh? Having just watched the extraordinary James Cameron doc on the wreck of the Bismarck, it’s fascinating stuff. More tomorrow. Have a fine Tuesday.
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