I appear on a local radio show every Friday morning (Ian Punnett, 107.1 FM) to BS about this and that, and play curious old songs. Every week I bring “Arms for the Love of America,” an over-the-top WW2 home-front propaganda tune; every week I hope we’ll get around to it, because I really want to share this song with everyone else. In terms of modern PC attitudes toward war and national solidarity, it's a big bucket of cold water down the pants of the timorous, and it reminds you how unapologetic popular patriotism used to be. But time always runs out; we never get around to the song. So last night I sent it off to Hugh Hewitt’s producer, thinking it might be apt for Hugh’s nationally syndicated radio show. Sure enough: I’m driving home in the miserable sleet, and the tune comes braying from my radio. I’m grinning ear to ear. I’m driving up the street with the windows down, and I’m probably the only guy in America singing along. It’s one job now! Arms! More Arms! Arms! For America!

A few segments later some fellow called in to remark how much he’d enjoyed the song, and how he appreciated the home-front message, since he was driving back from the blood bank. “Just donated another gallon,” he said. “And I hate needles.”

From my computer to a stranger’s car radio. The miracles never cease, do they? We don’t even think they’re miracles anymore.

I wonder if we’ll hear from Salam Pax for the rest of the war, or ever again. Here’s a picture from his site a few weeks ago - it’s a building he says gives him internet access.

According to some footage I saw tonight, it was hit, perhaps for reasons aesthetic as much as military.

I haven’t watched much news in the last few days; I checked in to make sure that the Brave & Valiant Iraqis Who Are Fighting For Their Homeland didn’t use their special Sandstorm-vision goggles to swarm over the hapless crusaders. I did hear one Iraqi official insisting that the invaders would retreat once the people back home saw the pictures of POWs. Sure. Right. These guys really are stuck with the Somalia model - based on one firefight from the previous century, they think they have the US all figured out. I wouldn't be surprised if they airlifted POWs and dragged them through the streets of Mogadishu, as if that was the magic trick that made the Iron Birds go away. They really don't get it; they don't understand what's changed. In a sense this is not West vs. Arab, or US vs militant Islam; it's a dynamic culture vs. a static one.

I’ve kept track of the war via the radio and the web. Radio gives you the news of the moment; the web gives you detail and commentary. TV is useful for pictures - I get the feeling sometimes this should be called Operation Stock Footage - and it’s useful for seeing retired military people draw lines on maps. I am heartened by the maps that show where our troops are located - if the pictures are indeed drawn to scale, we have three soldiers on the ground, and each is about 135 miles tall; they have at their disposal four tanks, each of which is the size of Rhode Island.

According to the tube tonight, things are heating up; lots of jerky pixelated interviews with the lads in the field. A reporter on the Constellation is making an impassioned speech about the tempo of operations, the point of which was undercut by a potbellied man in a yellow shirt walking leisurely across the hangar behind him. Much bad juju is predicted for today; equally harsh juju supposedly happened last night. The details never seem to filter into the TV reports - for all the embeddedness of the reportorial faction, I’ve yet to see a big smashing battle. The more you watch the more you realize how little you’re seeing.

Otherwise? Things are fine. I have been cleaning the house down to the molecular level. I have attacked, with pitiless efficiency, the Closets of Jasperwood. The Toy Closet, the Entryway Closet, the Library Closet in my study, the Emergency Rations closet, the Liquor Cabinet closet, the Clothes Closet. I cleaned out the garage. And I also finished the most anal-retentive project you can imagine: sorting the MP3s. Why? Who cares? I do: thanks to a screw-up in the CD database, some MP3s have the artist and song title reversed. Classical CDs are particularly hard to sort, since the track name is usually a reference to the tempo, not the title. I have spent no small amount of time stitching sundered movements together, and renaming everything so I know what it is when I see its name in the playlist window. “Movement II: 3 Bertwig Achtung (Adagio) Opus 23” doesn’t really narrow it down.

Curious how anal-retentive I am? Happy to oblige! I went through allll the MP3s to impose a consistent naming regime on the tracks, so each has the same format - Symphony No. X, Movement # X. Thank God few but Gustav and Anton sketched out anything beyond a 10th movement, and thank God I don’t have the collected works of Alan Hovhaness, who I believe wrote about 3,035 symphonies.

That’s it; that’s all I have at the moment. More on Monday, when normal life resumes; now it’s back to this strange & enjoyable vacation of solitude. I’m not saying I want to live a life where, if I so choose, I can crank up guilty-pleasure songs like “Twilight Zone” by Golden Earring at 10:30 PM, but it’s necessary to have the chance once or twice a year.

And now to bed.
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