Like Cap'n Ed Morrissey, I was an honored guest at James Lileks' 50th birthday bash, a well-catered, well-valeted, and surprisingly frigid (or not: this is Minnesota) event co-sponsored by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. A giant banner of Lileks was pinned up on a tent for guests to sign: Dave Barry signed on his forehead.
The special musical guest was John "Five for Fighting" Ondrasik, a purveyor of what the kids call Norwegian Black Metal, I think. He sat down at a piano and played some of his hits, rewriting the occasional lyrics to pay tribute to his host, as in the opening of "100 Years.": "I'm fifty, for a moment." In between songs, Ondrasik talked about the fun he was having at the RNC. "My wife and I were walking into the convention," he remembered, "and got delayed by some… 'peace' protestors." Knowing laughs from the crowd (Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, Glenn Reynolds). "They were chanting 'John McCain, 100 years! John McCain, 100 years!' And I thought, 'that sounds all right!'" He waxed about playing at military bases in places that the United States had liberated, like Guam, and wondered what the Middle East would be like if we finished the job of liberation and reform. Hopefully, "somebody will be playing this song in Iraq in 100 years."
Ondrasik was sensitive about talking politics in front of so many bloggers, so he joked at his own expense. "Musicians are some of the last people you should take political advice from," he said, slightly above convicted felons. He played an encore of "Superman" and waved off stage. "Let's elect John McCain, people!"