Friday, July 10, 2009

Poem for Friday

A Dream
By Jorge Luis Borges
Translated by Suzanne Jill Levine

In a deserted place in Iran there is a not very tall stone tower that has neither door nor window. In the only room (with a dirt floor and shaped like a circle) there is a wooden table and a bench. In that circular cell, a man who looks like me is writing in letters I cannot understand a long poem about a man who in another circular cell is writing a poem about a man who in another circular cell . . . The process never ends and no one will be able to read what the prisoners write.


From this week's New Yorker.

My intestines are officially angry at the way I've been eating so I have to stop. When I stopped eating pork and beef ten years ago, I admitted to myself that if I ever got to New Orleans, I was probably going to take a weekend off, because while I can live without a cheeseburger forever, I really, really wanted to eat gumbo and jambalaya properly just once (we make it at home with chicken sausage and sometimes veggie sausage but it's really not the same, and it's not like I ever kept kosher). Then I had CalTort yesterday and again today, since Hufflepants was here and I'd promised to take her and the kids out given that all we had in the house was tuna. Now I feel very bleh, though I will readily admit that I'd rather have stomach trouble than a migraine.

Hufflepants brought over her stick insects so we could see them, and they were awesome, chomping away on leaves that camouflaged them and completely ignoring us and the cats. In the evening, for some inexplicable reason, older son wanted to watch the Rankin-Bass version of The Hobbit, which is always good for a laugh (John Huston as Gandalf!), then I had to watch the Next Gen episode I need to review tomorrow ("The Game" aka "Video games are dangerous and only Wesley Crusher can save you!"). Here, have some more views of Ruby Falls and its surrounding cave:

Although Rock City -- atop Lookout Mountain -- is in Georgia, Ruby Falls -- inside Lookout Mountain -- is in Tennessee.

To reach the waterfall, one walks through caverns, some very low and narrow (they were blasted out to make them wider for visitors) and some high and grand like this one, with chandelier-like formations at the top.

Since all of the cave must be illuminated artificially, the formations are lit with mood-setting color like these stalactites and stalagmites.

Many of the mineral deposits have colorful names, like this one, which leans out over the pathway to the falls...

...or like this one, which resembles a horse's posterior.

This odd formation is known as the Elephant's Foot.

Here is a view from behind the falls. The color comes from artificial lighting in the cave; its name comes from Ruby Lambert, wife of the man who led the exploration group that discovered the waterfall.

Behind my kids in the cavern, you can see the large lights installed to illuminate the waterfall. You can also see all the water vapor in the air; it's about 60 degrees all the time in the cave but feels warmer because it's so moist.

I haven't been watching Torchwood, am waiting till next week when the whole family can watch, had been spoiled in advance though I'm still not sure exactly how my source knew everything she knew, am just not that invested in it because Doctor Who has made me hold the franchise at arm's length -- I know the producers favor tragic, egotistical, lonely, messianic, superhero male characters with everyone else (women, love interests of either gender) solidly supporting, unattainable/unreachable, oft-idealized and too-oft disposable. I don't know how the miniseries ends as a whole and am fine with being spoiled; I'd rather be warned about the sorts of things that happened to Donna and Toshiko than surprised by them.

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