Saturday, July 11, 2009

Poem for Saturday

Twin Cities
By Carol Muske-Dukes

It was the river that made them two—
The mills on one side,
The cathedral on the other.

We watched its swift currents:
If we stared long enough, maybe
It would stop cold and let us

Skate across to the other side.
It never froze in place—though
I once knew a kid, a wild funny

Girl who built a raft from branches
(Which promptly sank a few feet out
From the elbow bend off Dayton’s Bluff),

Who made it seem easy to believe.
We’d tried to break into Carver’s Cave,
Where bootleggers hid their hot stash

Years after the Dakota drew their snakes
And bears on the rock walls and canoed
Inside the caverns. We knew there were

Other openings in the cliffs, mirroring
Those same rock faces on the other shore—
And below them the caves, the subterranean

Pathways underlying the talk and commerce,
The big shot churches, undermining the false
Maidenliness of the convent school from which

My friend was eventually expelled for being
Too smart and standing up for her own smartness.
Too late, I salute you, Katy McNally. I think

That the river returned then to two-sidedness—
An overhung history of bottle-flash and hopelessness.
I see you still—laughing as the lashed sticks

Sank beneath you, laughing as you did
That morning when the river lifted
Its spring shoulders, shrugging off

The winter ice, that thin brittle mirage,
Making you believe
We were all in this together.


Another from this week's New Yorker.

My mother took my kids to play miniature golf and swim in the water park at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg, so I had the afternoon to myself. I went out to get a jewelry holder for earrings and key rings, spent twenty minutes deciding between two, bought one of them, came home, concluded it could not be made to fit in the space where I intended to put it even after I did some rearranging, went back and exchanged it for the other, came home again and fit it in nicely. Consoled myself about this schlepping by buying myself Bath & Body Works' White Citrus roll-on perfume, made the mistake of trying that new True Blue Morocco Sweet Fig & Argan lotion, now keep sniffing my wrist and wishing it came in a spray or some other form of perfume because I have too many lotions as it is (and that goes as well for the Cedarwood & Spice body scrub, which I would never use, but it smells soooo good). Why am I so fragrance-fickle? I just bought some wonderful, ridiculously inexpensive Nag Champa roll-on oil in the Atlanta Underground from one of those vendor carts, but I hate wearing the same scent two days in a row!

As for the rest of my day, I wrote and posted a review of "The Game", which no one will have read yet since I forgot to send the link to the TrekToday staff until about five minutes ago, which is probably just as well because I actually like that episode and any time I've said anything nice about Wesley Crusher, lots of people have had mean things to say to me about it. And we had dinner with my parents. And I burned a DVD of Torchwood: Children of Earth (which I keep wanting to call Torchwood: Children of Men, which I suspect is not merely coincidence but Freudian slip) so my whole family can watch it, if we can stand it. I think everyone here knows by now that I have issues with Doctor Who and Torchwood -- I had plenty of unfriendings after I made my feelings clear during last season's Doctor Who -- so my expectations are considerably lower than I suspect a lot of people's were, but I still want to think it's interesting enough to justify whatever gets done to the characters.

The Friday Five: Food Favorites
1. What is your favorite vegetable?
Wasabi peas. I'm not a big vegetable enthusiast; I am five years old that way.
2. What is your favorite salad dressing, sauce, gravy, or condiment? Raspberry vinaigrette if it's salad; hollandaise sauce if it's eggs or salmon; and there can never be too much pepper, garlic, or vanilla.
3. What is your favorite culture's food (American, Chinese, Creole, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Soul Food, Southern U.S., etc.)? There is no way I could possibly choose. I will eat Creole, Indian, Greek, Lebanese, Persian, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, real Italian (the kind with olive oil rather than tomato sauce), or Ashkenazi Jewish (a bagel and a schmear) any day of the week.
4. What is your favorite beverage? Fresh-squeezed pink grapefruit juice mixed with pure (no corn syrup) cranberry juice.
5. What is your favorite food? I cannot choose among aged sharp cheddar, creamy hummus, and milk chocolate.

Fannish5: Name your five favorite works of historical fiction, and why you love them.
1. The Far Side of the World by Patrick O'Brian
. Really I cannot say enough about the entire Aubrey-Maturin series, but this is the book that first sold me on it, so there you have it.
2. The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. First fictional alternative I ever read to Shakespeare's version of Richard III, and a great mystery novel besides.
3. The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman. A bit more romance novel-y, but also a longer novel about Richard III and his England.
4. The Treasure of Montsegur by Sophy Burnham. Because the Cathars and their fate have fascinated me for a long time.
5. Silk Road by Jeanne Larsen. An utterly engrossing novel about Tang Dynasty China that should possibly be categorized as fantasy, but it's very evocative of Chinese mythology in a way that seems completely fitting with its era.

One of the Asian small-clawed otters at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.

The beluga whales diving in their enormous tank.

Colorful fish and coral in the Atlantic coral reef exhibit.

A tree frog (sadly, I don't remember what species).

Anemones in the tidal pool touch tank.

With color distorted from the massive sea tank, an indication of how much bigger a whale shark is than a sand tiger shark.

And here is the awesomely big manta ray, with eyes that spawned a hundred alien imitators.

At the other end of the size spectrum, here are underwater garden eels popping their heads up from the sand.

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