By Franz Wright
I met William Burroughs in a dream.
It was some sort of bohemian farmhouse,
and he was enthroned, small and skeletal,
in a truly gigantic red armchair.
When I asked him how he was, he replied
Well, you know what they say—for best results,
always mock and frighten lobster before boiling.
Franz—I like that name, Franz. Childe Franz
to the dark tower something or other . . . Hey,
got a smoke? And quit worrying so much:
they can't help themselves, they're like abused dogs
and they're going to react to affection and kindness
with uncontrollable savagery. Just tell them,
You're out of my mind, pal. You're out
of my mind. Either that or, I'm out of yours.
That'll keep them brain-chained to their trees.
From this week's New Yorker.
As expected, PEPCO turned off our electricity shortly after 9 a.m., so I spent very little of Tuesday in the house. We put ice packs in the refrigerator and it seems like all the food is fine -- we didn't have any raw meat, which is the major concern. I did some holiday shopping -- got a couple of Chanukah presents for family members at Barnes & Noble, picked up Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at Best Buy (the special edition was worth it to me just for the lenticular cover where Harry and Dumbledore turn into Draco and Snape, hee, plus I wanted the digital copy). Then I met Vertigo66 who took me out for an early birthday lunch, though not at our usual place now that I know there are over 1900 mg of sodium in a Corner Bakery turkey sandwich -- we went to California Pizza Kitchen instead, where I had a most excellent Moroccan chicken salad and we shared hummus. Since there was no point in hurrying home, I took a long walk around the lake where the geese were squabbling in what was left of the snow. Then I did come home to retrieve Adam just as the power came back on.
We did not have a lot of time, though, because Adam's orchestra winter concert was Tuesday evening, so we had to eat dinner early, shove some food into Daniel who arrived late after a robotics meeting, meet up with my parents who are having trouble with one of their cars -- Paul's parents didn't make it, fearing the coming night weather -- and drive everyone to the middle school for the concert. It was very nice both in terms of length and content -- they wisely separated the three jazz bands from the two string orchestras, so we got to hear the beginning/intermediate orchestra play "Fanfare for Strings" and the minuet from Handel's The Music for the Royal Fireworks before the advanced orchestra played Rimsky-Korsakov's "Dance of the Tumblers" from The Snow Maiden, an arrangement of Vivaldi's Gloria, and the suite from The Little Mermaid among others. Adam now plays viola in the orchestra, having been persuaded to switch at the beginning of the year by a desperate teacher with more than 40 violins and only five violas. I am quite behind on e-mail, journals, etc., so if I owe you a note or comment, I will get to it tomorrow -- apologies!
The advanced orchestra sits in the bleachers waiting for its turn to play...
...while the intermediate orchestra warms up and performs "Dragon Hunter."
Adam waits while the rest of the advanced orchestra gets settled...
...then the group plays the Irish hymn "Be Thou My Vision."
Here is the advanced orchestra standing for a bow.
Earlier in the day, I visited the geese at Washingtonian Lake.
They did not seem terribly bothered by the snow remaining on the grass.
They did, however, express their displeasure that I had not brought anything to feed them.