Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Poem for Tuesday

By Justin Quinn

I carry America into these young heads,
at least some parts that haven't yet got there—
Hawthorne's Salem, Ellison's blacks and reds,
Bishop's lovely lines of late summer air.

The students take quick notes. They pause or dive
for dictionaries and laptops, or turn to ask
a friend as new words constantly arrive.
The more they do, the more complex the task.

They smoothly move from serious to blasé
and back again. I love the way they sit
and use their bodies to nuance what they say.
I lean forward to catch the drift of it.

When it's ended, they'll switch back to Czech,
put on their coats and bags, shift wood and chrome,
and ready themselves for their daily trek
across a continent and ocean home.


From this week's New Yorker.

Three of us had a quiet morning at home while Adam went with two friends plus the brother and mother of one of the friends to Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, where they took care of cows and chickens, saw groundhogs running away from the chicken coop where they had been stealing food, and got mud and cow manure all over themselves (the latter apparently with the help of one of son's friends). We picked them up to take them to see Ponyo and had to do some improvising with clothing. Fortunately, they didn't want to sit with us anyway. Ponyo was wonderful -- I'm not sure I liked it quite as much as Howl's Moving Castle, but the underwater animation is stunning and it's a nicer take on the Little Mermaid than Disney's version as far as I'm concerned (okay, Ponyo still wants to be human to be with a boy, but in this case she doesn't have to give up her voice or the love of her family, and she never has to hide who she is from him or his family). I also liked that there was an environmental theme and the world's most adorable octopus sneaking into the main character's house. And what is not to love about a heroine who's the daughter of Aslan and Galadriel?

We had brought back crab soup from The Captain's Table in a cooler when we went to Solomons the other day, which we had for dinner along with cheese and crackers. Then we watched State of Play, which I liked a lot -- I thought a lot of things in the first half were pretty predictable, but then some things in the second half went in directions I never saw coming. In certain cases it was because I expected a bit of logic from the characters -- my kids know that when a nutcase is chasing you, you pull out your cell phone and call someone, anyone, and talk loudly about how someone is meeting you at any moment, which Russell Crowe's character apparently never learned, and I'm glad the newspaper at the heart of the story is fictional because there's some serious conflict of interest going on in terms of who gets to write up what -- but the acting was uniformly excellent, the characters were all interesting and all had interesting flaws, the pacing made the movie seem much shorter than its two plus hour run time, and the DC geography was much better than usual -- there was no fake Metro station right in front of the Capitol -- and any film in which Russell sings along to Great Big Sea's "The Night Pat Murphy Died" in the first scene is worth seeing for me just for that.

Eutaw Street and the Warehouse from the upper deck of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The grounds crew gets the field ready for baseball.

Pitchers warm up in the bullpens.

On the main scoreboard screen, the Esskay Hot Dog Race is nearly as popular as the Crab Shuffle (and allows for gratuitous wiener jokes). I rooted for Relish but Mustard won.

Kids could get their faces and hair painted in team colors (there were plenty of Ravens purple and rainbows as well as Oriole orange).

The top of the B&O Railroad Museum's roundhouse can be seen between the upper deck and the stadium lights.

Babe Ruth was from Baltimore and still claimed by the city despite the fame he earned largely with that New York team.

A display of retired Orioles numbers behind the Warehouse pays tribute to Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken, and Frank Robinson respectively.

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