This magic dust stuff isn’t working. Little Miss Peripatetic was up a half-dozen times last night. I’d leave my studio and find her standing in the hall like something from a spooky movie where the Sensitive, Preternaturally Attuned Child recognizes that the minions of hell are swirling around the house. I’d guide her back to bed, explain why she had to sleep, get a solemn assurance that she would indeed float off on the tides of Lethe, and I’d go downstairs. As soon as I was under her room I’d hear the little feet hit the floor above. Repeat until dawn.

Today was the first nap in the big new bed, and it only took 87 minutes to get her down. To ameliorate her trepidation we went to Target and purchased a bed rail, which extends seven inches above the mattress. It’s more a psychological barrier than anything else, really. Hope it works. Check with me in a week; I’ll probably be festooning the thing with crosses and garlic.

Miserable day, cold and wet and dank and harsh. More March than April. A temporary setback. We both felt like hibernating, though - Gnat just wanted to watch TV this morning, and I just wanted to read war news. I turned on the fire, poured juice for her and java for myself, and so we passed the early morning. I spent some time on the World’s Fair 1964 site, which will consist mostly of cards from this souvenir deck I bought last week. The cards were from Ed-u-Cards, which probably means nothing to you - certainly meant nothing to me. But people of my generation will recognize this logo right away, even though they might not have seen it in a couple decades:

I remember that guy.

The postcards for the ‘64 World’s Fair are rather pathetic, inasmuch as the broad international flavor of the ‘39 edition is absent. The 1939 fair had pavilions from nations across the globe; there are two countries represented in the cards: Sudan and the Vatican. I have a movie from the 64 fair, shot by AT&T, preparing us for the marvels soon to come: automatic dialing! (Just insert the punch card in the phone, and it does the rest!) Pagers! (The pager shown in the film is about as big as a Tom Clancy paperback, and it doesn’t tell you who called, only that someone called.) I used to sneer at the ‘64 Fair, because the architecture seemed graceless and tacky, and that’s often true. But. The more I look at it, the more it seems as if it was the last gasp of the Beneficent Technocrats and the Modernists who would make our life a push-button polyester dream of ease and amazement. I almost weep when I look at the monorail - they sport a big AMF logo, which I remember from childhood primarily as a manufacturer of automatic bowling-pin machinery. After the Fair, the hippies took over and it all went to hell.

Well, no. Well, yes. “The Sixties” mean different things to different people; as usual the era had several distinct strands. Some people seize on the folk-music -> war protest -> rock music -> summer of love thread, and others see the 60s according to a different set of definitions - cars, or country music, or that pop-art strain that unmade the hallmarks of 50s mass culture and reshaped them with the imagery and iconography of the youth movement. Think “Laugh-In,” which was really just bad vaudeville with go-go boots and brash graphics

And let me just note that once again, as happened last night, the point I meant to make has been lost in an hour and a half of playing Sandman with Gnat. I tried boring her to sleep by playing her the 1924 Paul Whiteman version of “Rhapsody in Blue,” since that’s what I will be boring the radio audience with tomorrow morning. No good. Now my wife’s trying to get her down. It’s only 2 1/2 hours past her bedtime. WE’RE IN HELL.

I digress. But since I wasn’t going anywhere anyway, to hell with it. Here’s something you might enjoy:

This is, of course, what a liberated Iraqi shouted to the American troops as they rumbled past. This was what America meant to him. You may say it’s a crude reduction of a shallow culture.

I say we put it on the twenty dollar bill.

(Here’s a small one for your website, if you so desire.)

I’m watching the news now; a live interview from Saddam International. (Airport code: FCKD.) A general was describing the firefight they encountered, and was asked if he saw dead bodies. Well, yeah, was his reaction. But it wasn’t a gleeful response - hell yes, we got dead Rakkies piled halfway to the moon! He just said “they kept resisting,” and he said it with rue. Now why you have to go do that. Now we have to gear up and knock you down. There’s not much end-zone spiking going on, as far as I’ve seen. No Robert Duvalls striding through the battlezone eating a dead cigar, nostrils wide to drink in the perfume of early-morning napalm.

The airport capture brings a different flavor to this event; bridges and deserts and strangely named towns are the sort of thing we expect to make up the landscape of war, but a modern “international” airport is something else. You can imagine the place without seeing a single detail: counters with uniformed clerks, thin men wheeling luggage around, trackless expanses of marble, Muzak. You’re reminded that this is perhaps the most modern nation the United States has invaded in half a century; have we ever occupied a nation with cloverleaf highways?

Besides Germany, that is.


Grrrrr. She's up again. Back to Sandman duty. Have a good weekend.

Amazon Honor SystemClick Here to PayLearn More