Chorus from 'Atalanta in Calydon'
By A.C. Swinburne
Before the beginning of years,
There came to the making of man
Time, with a gift of tears;
Grief, with a glass that ran;
Pleasure, with pain for leaven;
Summer, with flowers that fell;
Remembrance fallen from heaven,
And madness risen from hell;
Strength without hands to smite;
Love that endures for a breath;
Night, the shadow of light,
And life, the shadow of death.
And the high gods took in hand
Fire, and the falling of tears,
And a measure of sliding sand
From under the feet of the years;
And froth and drift of the sea;
And dust of the laboring earth;
And bodies of things to be
In the houses of death and birth;
And wrought with weeping and laughter,
And fashioned with loathing and love,
With life before and after,
And death below and above,
For a day and a night and a morrow,
That his strength might endure for a span,
With travail and heavy sorrow,
The holy spirit of man.
From the winds of the north and the south,
They gathered as unto strife;
They breathed upon his mouth,
They filled his body with life;
Eyesight and speech they wrought
For the veils of the soul therein,
A time for labor and thought,
A time to serve and to sin;
They gave him light in his ways,
And love, and a space for delight,
And beauty and length of days,
And night, and sleep in the night.
His speech is a burning fire;
With his lips he travaileth;
In his heart is a blind desire,
In his eyes foreknowledge of death;
He weaves, and is clothed with derision;
Sows, and he shall not reap;
His life is a watch or a vision
Between a sleep and a sleep.
The kids had no school today but spent much of the afternoon at a friend's house (spending this lovely day mostly indoors playing video games, graaar), while I wrote a review of "The Trouble With Tribbles" (have I mentioned that you can download, for free, an Acrobat eBook of David Gerrold's The Making of 'The Trouble With Tribbles' here?) And I have apparently completely converted my children, because tonight after Shabbat dinner which we did ourselves as my parents were out, they wanted to watch "Descent"! So we have now watched all the TNG episodes I own on DVD -- the rest of the Borg set has Voyager episodes, and the Borg Voyager episodes are NOT my favorites as they all involve Seven of Nine. I see that I need to pull out our very old, very poor, off-the-TV videotapes. And while I'm in geek mode,
Poor Rose -- home to see Mum after what she thinks is 12 hours but is actually 12 months. Mickey has been accused of murdering her, her mum won't believe anything she says about where she's been, and just when Rose is thinking that mum may be right that 900 years is one hell of an age gap, a spaceship with a loud horn flies overhead, crashes into Big Ben and lands in the Thames! (And there are lovely shots of Tower Bridge, the Gherkin, the Eye and all the lovely sites that made me nostalgic during Match Point and apparently show up in Basic Instinct II which not even David Thewlis can tempt me to see but I digress.) Apparently first contact is supposed to have the same effect in the Doctorverse as the Trekiverse, making the human race grow up. "You don't need me," the Doctor tells Rose, advising her to celebrate history and go spend some time with her mum. He gives her a TARDIS key just in case and promises to see her later. (And again, speaking of David Thewlis in a much more marginal fannish way, I love that someone has spray painted BAD WOLF on the side of the TARDIS.)
I am sure Brits get more out of the humor of the poor rural MP trying to get her hospital proposal before the PM, whom she doesn't realize has been abducted by Evil Aliens, but we still thought it was pretty funny. "By all the saints, get some perspective, woman!" shouts the acting PM, who is, of course, an Evil Alien in disguise -- they can be recognized by their uncontrolled flatulence (which amused my children greatly). The Doc gets himself at the head of the military team summoned when the "alien" in the morgue returns from the dead, but it turns out to be a modified pig, which the Doctor describes to Rose as a mermaid like the ones we saw at various nautical museums last summer at the beach...a head stuck in the wrong body, a fake. Meanwhile Rose, who is insisting to Mickey that the Doctor is not her boyfriend -- he's better than that -- uses the key the Doctor gave her to summon the TARDIS and drags her domestic problems onto the ship. Thanks to Rose's mum's police report, Rose and the Doctor are escorted to 10 Downing Street, though of course it's a trap, and Mum is visited by an alien disguised as an official, so they are all cornered by Evil Aliens when the Evil Aliens decide it's time to reveal their secret Evil Alien Plans and unzip their human skins to reveal that they look like Evil ETs with black Puss in Boots eyes and big claws!
Again, I love the interaction between the female characters -- how Rose instantly believes Harriet Jones and tries to help when the poor MP bursts into tears, and how real Rose and her mum's interaction is despite the absolute absurdity of the situation, with Rose missing and believed dead for months and then her mother unable to be grateful she's back until she's done screaming that Rose is a liar and probably a tramp! And Mickey doesn't do anything rash now that he knows the Doctor can get the sports channel to watch football. Doc's best line ever, so far: "Do you mind not farting?" And it's a CLIFFHANGER! Which would frustrate me, but having just rewatched the two Next Generation season-enders that left Picard with the Borg all summer, I suppose I can wait a week, especially since it's clear from the previews that the Doctor survives the alien electrocution effect.
1. Name one of your flaws: Saying "yup" to my kids when I'm not really paying attention to what they're nattering on about because I'm distracted by something else.
2. Have you ever won first place? Yes. College writing contest. More than once, actually.
3. Who is the last person to make you smile? My son, two minutes ago when he explained that for his birthday he wanted to adopt one of the penguins at the Baltimore Zoo and get a stuffed penguin, certificate, photo of his penguin, etc.
4. Describe a time when you should have tried harder: When my friend Karen was dying of cystic fibrosis in Chicago and I was on vacation in Bar Harbor with my family, and I assumed there was just no way I could get there in time to see her. I could have -- it would have sabotaged the family vacation, which was what I was worried about, but I could have talked to her one last time.
5. What are you good at? Daydreaming. Appreciating art. Admiring the universe.
1. When you were little what was your favorite TV show? Very little, Sesame Street; a little older, and for many, many years thereafter, Star Trek.
2. What was your favorite movie? The first one I ever obsessed over was Star Wars (which was then the one, the only, and had no subtitle). That came out when I was in fifth grade, I think? And before that it had been Singin' in the Rain.
3. What is your favorite TV show currently? Boston Legal.
4. What is the best movie you have seen so far this year? Brokeback Mountain.
5. If someone was going to make a movie or TV show about your life, who would play you and why? No one would ever make a movie or TV show about my life. No one famous is short enough to play me. Kristin Chenoweth might be close, but she'd have to become brunette and gain a bunch of weight and lose her ability to sing.
If Saturday is as gorgeous as today was, I expect to be out nearly all day at the Civil War reenactment and a park. And Sunday too -- we will brave the crowds to see the cherry blossoms! Hope everyone has a great weekend!
A nice happy spring photo from Boyd's Bear Country in Gettysburg -- the Watermelon Bear display.