By Julie Bruck
They trail the trademark Royal Lipizzans,
a day or three later, eschewing big arenas
named after software for more questionable,
outdoor venues, county fairs like this,
where you wander among pygmy goats at dusk
to locate the gate, always pay cash.
There are fewer white stallions here,
and they don't jump as high, but the crowd
of fat men, angular women, and their sleepy,
sun-kissed kids cheers wildly and stomps
its boots in time to brave Beethoven squeezed
from two tiny speakers. That's the way,
Santa Rosa, barks the commentator
in his iridescent blue suit, a decade
or two past Vegas. These horses
love it when you make a lot of noise!
So do the red-uniformed women riders,
who grin resolutely through quadrilles,
caprioles, and airs above the ground,
broadcasting their teeth. Best of all,
these horses like to jiggle from the ring,
halt, then bolt breakneck for the barn—
whee! Hang the rules! A stud stampede
of Royal Riding School truants! Oh, less
than venerable Viennese, elbows pumping
their horny white stallions barnward
at suicidal speeds, driving Santa
Rosa mad with glee, as mushroom clouds
of dust ascend under the klieg lights,
coating our throats! Get a load of how
they do this in California, oh, Emperor
Franz Josef, oh, Elisabeth, mournful
Empress, oh, Troy Tinker of the blue neon
suit! We eat this dust, we yell for more.
Another from this week's New Yorker.
We are leaving town tomorrow afternoon, meaning that today was spent doing necessary chores like laundry, tracking down the books the kids want to read in the car, tracking down necessities at Target that we didn't track down the last time we were at Target, and more laundry. I still need to burn a bunch of photos to disc in case of computer catastrophe, and I still need to pack pretty much all the practical stuff, but I have most of tomorrow for that while the kids are hopefully at the pool.
We had dinner with my parents, though I was a bit foggy since I had a seasonal migraine. And now I am spazzing about all the things I may forget to do but am too tired to do any of them. So instead I am listening to Hoawrd Dean talk to Stephen Colbert about health care (though not his own apparent plastic surgery and who paid for it, I note), and have my cat ignoring me in favor of sleeping on the new bath mat purchased earlier in the day.
The USS Constellation seen behind NVE Cisne Branco in Baltimore last weekend.
Another view of Cisne Branco, this time from the gun deck of the Constellation.
Adam tries out one of the hammocks on the deck below.
The wardroom and officers' quarters have recently been restored.
In fact, the quarters are quite roomy compared even to the captain's quarters on the USS Torsk and most of the officers' quarters on the USCGC Taney.
The dispensary has been restored as well.
An older ship's wheel is on display in the small museum outside the ship.
Here are the Constellation (at right) and Cisne Branco (at left) plus a few harbor dragon boats seen from the bridge of the Lightship Chesapeake.