Blood and Motherly Advice

The American Forces Network offers homilies, sports events, and surprisingly graphic depictions of war.
  1. Wear a hat when it's cold. Balance your tires. Print clearly when addressing letters. Make reservations well before your travel date. If you find lost valuables and return them, you'll feel good about yourself. Respect other people's privacy. Read that lease before you sign it. Organize your files. If you're having trouble coping with something, it's okay to ask for help. When invited to dinner in someone's home, dress neatly and bring a small gift. It's okay if you need to be by yourself now and then, just to think or whatever. Watch out for pickpockets. Renew early. And did you know that kitchen grease fires are a leading cause of death? Don't become a statistic!

    While the television you watch blares out demands that you buy $145 sneakers and individually wrapped mesquite-flavored cheese curls, the television I watch employs the spaces between shows to impart pearls of wisdom like these. And it has no commercials. It's not public television; it airs popular shows like NYPD Blue and Star Trek Voyager, and major sporting events. What I watch is the American Forces Network—military television.

    I'm watching military television because my family has moved temporarily to Brussels, where my wife, a U.S. diplomat, is doing refugee work in conjunction with the European Union. NATO headquarters is in Brussels, and as a result a transmitter for AFN sits near the Brussels airport. Generally, special equipment is required to pick up the AFN signal. Many soldiers are quite knowledgeabl...