The explosion that woke me up Wednesday, rattling the windows and the building turned out to be an industrial site owned by the Falk Corp., a mile or so southwest of me, down in the industrial valley, which is why I couldn't see – with my windows looking east toward the Lake – any smoke or crowds of people pointing at anything (as seemed appropriate) when I leaped from the bed – instantly fully awake and aware of the nature of the noise, if not its origin – and rushed in a state of undress to the window.
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
I am currently having a ball with Regina Spektor's Soviet Kitsch. I don't think I've been this taken by a female songwriter since the heyday of Natalie Merchant in 10,000 Maniacs. Vocally, I think she's incredibly daring in having taken what we consider "screwing around" noises that we would make, but would never consider good singing, and turned them into "legitimate" vocal tricks in her delivery. I've seen her music described in the broadly-conceived category of "anti-folk" along with someone like Ani DiFranco, but while Andrea Kebrdle worked to turn me onto both of these artists, I never have found a strong point of connection with Ani, even though her guitar-based music is closer to that of the musical circles I move in. I think that something about the sound of Regina's classical background really grabs me, though, in her writing and her vocal delivery. I suspect that perhaps there's an invitation to share in her emotion that I don't feel with Ani's music: that there's more that's confrontational there, but I'm not ready to take a bullet for that thought: that's still more of a guess. Anyway, I'm having a lot of fun with this. kesil turned me on to these YouTube videos of her "Fidelity" and "Us", both of which play extremely well to her performance persona.
Here's an AP news article about yesterday's 65th (!) anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. So long ago: another age of the world. So recent: less than a lifetime; a blink of an eye for everyone who lived from then 'til now. All the kids today with no sense of history, though: it makes me feel like people miss so much of the world we live in when I get a blank stare at mentioning these kinds of things. Anyway, I found myself thinking a great deal of these young guys who saw so much that day and after, now standing in Hawaii in these bodies that have gotten so inexplicably old on them, and remembering... Other than the predictable romanticizing by Tom Brokaw, this is a decent-enough article.
Survivors Honor Pearl Harbor Victims
Dec 7, 5:26 PM (ET)
By AUDREY McAVOY
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) - One by one, aging survivors from ships sunk 65 years ago Thursday in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor laid wreaths under life preserver rings honoring their ships.
Nearly 500 survivors bowed their heads at 7:55 a.m., the minute planes began bombing the harbor in a surprise attack that thrust the United States into World War II.
"America in an instant became the land of the indivisible," said former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw, the author of "The Greatest Generation," who spoke at the shoreside ceremonies. "There are so many lessons from that time for our time, none greater than the idea of one nation greater than the sum of its parts."
The veterans, most in Hawaiian aloha shirts, were honored with prolonged applause at the solemn ceremony near where some of the ships remain rusting and moss-covered under the harbor's waters.
Many were treating the gathering as their last, uncertain if they would be alive or healthy enough to travel to Hawaii for the next big memorial ceremony, the 70th anniversary.
"It is because of you and people like you that we have the freedoms we enjoy today," Capt. Taylor Skardon said after relating each ship's story at the end of the ceremony.
A priest gave a Hawaiian blessing and Marines performed a rifle salute.
For many it could be their last return to the World War II attack site.
"Sixty-five years later, there's not too many of us left," said Don Stratton, a seaman 1st class who was aboard the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941. "In another five years I'll be 89. The good lord willing, I might be able to make it. If so, I'll probably be here. I might not even be around. Who knows. Only the good Lord knows."
Stratton and other survivors were boarding a boat to the white memorial straddling the sunken hull of the USS Arizona, where they will lay wreaths and lei in honor of the dead.
"We thank those who lost their lives 65 years ago, and we honor the survivors and their families who are with us here today," said Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle.
The Arizona sank in less than nine minutes after a 1,760 pound armor-piercing bomb struck the battleship's deck and hit its ammunition magazine, igniting flames that engulfed the ship.
More people died on the Arizona than any other ship as 1,177 servicemen, or about 80 percent of its crew, perished.
Altogether, the surprise attack killed 2,390 Americans and injured 1,178.
Twelve ships sank and nine vessels were heavily damaged. Over 320 U.S. aircraft were destroyed or heavily damaged by the time the invading planes were done sweeping over military bases from Wheeler Field to Kaneohe Naval Air Station.
Japanese veterans who participated in the attack as navigators and pilots will also pay their respects, offering flowers at the Arizona memorial for the American and Japanese who died.
Japan lost 185 men, mostly on dive-bombers, fighters and midget submarines.
Some Japanese veterans and American survivors have reconciled in the decades since.
Japanese dive bomber pilot Zenji Abe has apologized to American survivors for the sudden attack, ashamed his government failed to deliver a declaration of war in time for the assault.
The Japanese aviators who carried out the attack thought the declaration had already been made by the time they started bombing, Abe has said.