Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Poem for Wednesday, Baltimore, All-Star Game

Baseball and Classicism
By Tom Clark

Every day I peruse the box scores for hours  
Sometimes I wonder why I do it
Since I am not going to take a test on it  
And no one is going to give me money

The pleasure’s something like that of codes  
Of deciphering an ancient alphabet say  
So as brightly to picturize Eurydice
In the Elysian Fields on her perfect day

The day she went 5 for 5 against Vic Raschi


Tuesday sucked, Wednesday's gonna suck hard, Thursday's gonna suck worse, and that's just my life, not even counting the state of the world which sucks more than I can remember feeling like it sucked since the night Operation Desert Storm started and I was sitting in a classroom pretending I cared about a pretentious paper by a male feminist expert on Modernist women's writing when I just wanted to get to a TV and find out what was going on, since I wasn't in the habit of looking on Usenet back then. Ahem. A few more photos from Baltimore, including pirate ships, aquarium animals, and, in honor of the AL about to win the All-Star Game which is now in extra innings, Oriole Park at Camden Yards:








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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Poem for Tuesday and National Aquarium

By Greg Wrenn

I took the night train there,
never dreaming.
To cross the straits
my boxcar crept onto a barge—there was screeching,
several tremendous thuds,
then with a growl
we sailed.
I was already half-awake,
anxious for a volcano, neolithic shrines,
islands to explore
off the main island…
At my stop,
early morning’s tarnish
fell on a shuttered newspaper stand
and torn campaign posters.
A child playing near a livestock car
sang about a weapon
detonated in another nation,
another hemisphere.

From the station
and the song,
I walked up the mountain road
to a garden where grizzly men with camera phones
greeted me, sleep still
in the corners of their eyes,
bougainvillea around their tents.
I was to be eternalized
and therefore loved.
They waxed my nose
and powdered my nether regions.
After oatmeal and coffee,
I was Jupiter’s—
his bardash, his
Ganymede, ningle, ingle,
against a Doric column.

I felt numb a night later as rosemary blew through the lava fields.


I didn't do anything on Monday that wasn't a chore (besides having an egg bagel in between shopping stops) until dinnertime, apart from watching the traitor in chief commit treason in Russia but if Republicans didn't care enough to remove him over children in cages, I doubt this will make the slightest impact after an initial tantrum or two. We watched the Home Run Derby, which was very fun because it was at Nationals Park and Bryce Harper won, and this week's Elementary, which made me happy because it implied that Moriarty will be back before the series finale. I'm sure I had more interesting things to say but diatomaceous earth has rotted my brain, so here are some photos from the National Aquarium last weekend:






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Monday, July 16, 2018

Poem for Monday and SeaWorld Penguin

Magellanic Penguin
By Pablo Neruda
Translated by Jack Schmitt

Neither clown nor child nor black
nor white but verticle
and a questioning innocence
dressed in night and snow:
The mother smiles at the sailor,
the fisherman at the astronaunt,
but the child child does not smile
when he looks at the bird child,
and from the disorderly ocean
the immaculate passenger
emerges in snowy mourning.

I was without doubt the child bird
there in the cold archipelagoes
when it looked at me with its eyes,
with its ancient ocean eyes:
it had neither arms nor wings
but hard little oars
on its sides:
it was as old as the salt;
the age of moving water,
and it looked at me from its age:
since then I know I do not exist;
I am a worm in the sand.

the reasons for my respect
remained in the sand:
the religious bird
did not need to fly,
did not need to sing,
and through its form was visible
its wild soul bled salt:
as if a vein from the bitter sea
had been broken.

Penguin, static traveler,
deliberate priest of the cold,
I salute your vertical salt
and envy your plumed pride.


My Sunday involved watching the World Cup final (I was rooting for Croatia because they beat Russia, but I do like France), plus lots and lots of laundries. We went out in the afternoon to get some stuff at Target, Kohl's, and Giant, during which I ran into my Pokemon raiding group and caught Lugia, but it rained while we were at Washingtonian so I didn't even get to walk around the lake.

In the evening we watched this week's Succession and the first episode of A Very English Scandal -- the former twisted and depressing, the latter darkly funny and extremely well acted. Someone on Facebook asked me ten years ago for photos from our trip on this day to (pre-boycott) SeaWorld for a penguin encounter as an early birthday present for younger son, so here are photos:









Sunday, July 15, 2018

Greetings from Baltimore

We spent the morning doing the endless anti-bug laundries while half-watching the World Cup runner-up match, but since we already had Orioles tickets for the evening, we figured it would be stupid to waste the late afternoon. So we went to the National Aquarium for a couple of hours before the game, where we saw lots of animals, even the sleeping sloth, before heading to Camden Yards, where we had veggie burgers and peanuts and watched the Orioles win on a single unearned run (but hey, they need every win any way they can get them)! Plus it was free Maryland flag jersey day, which would have equaled the cost of the tickets if we'd wanted to sell them. Adam won the cupcake contest at Microsoft's puzzle day (his whole team did very well) and Maddy has just picked up her suitcase so she is officially moved out. Sunday: more chores!


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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Poem for Saturday and Baby Gulls

The Seagull
By Dafydd ap Gwilym
Translated by Glyn Jones

Gracing the tide-warmth, this seagull,
The snow-semblanced, moon-matcher,
The sun-shard and sea-gauntlet
Floating, the immaculate loveliness.
The feathered one, fishfed, the swift-proud,
Is buoyant, breasting the combers.

Sea-lily, fly to this anchor to me,
Perch your webs on my hand.
You nun among ripples, habited
Brilliant as paper-work, come.
Girl-glorified you shall be, pandered to,
Gaining that castle mass, her fortalice.
Scout them out, seagull, those glowing battlements,
Reconnoitre her, the Eigr-complexioned.
Repeat my pleas, my citations, go
Girlward, gull, where I ache to be chosen.
She solus, pluck up courage, accost her,
Stress your finesse to the fastidious one;
Use honeyed diplomacy, hinting
I cannot remain extant without her.
I worship her, every particle worships!

Look, friends, not old Merlin, hot-hearted,
Not Taliesin the bright-browed, beheld
The superior of this one in loveliness.
Cypress-shapely, but derisive beneath
Her tangled crop of copper, gull,
O, when you eye all Christendom's
Loveliest cheek—this girl will bring
Annihilation upon me, should your answer
Sound, gull, no relenting note.


At 8 a.m. we were visited by the company that treated our bedbugs, complete with bug-sniffing dog, to make sure all the bugs and their eggs were gone. Let's just say that the dog signaled that it had found something on the left side of the bed and my Friday the 13th only got worse from there. At least, with Maddy moving into a new place with three friends tomorow, we can sleep in Daniel's room instead of breaking our backs on the sleep sofa. We were going to go to a play tonight but did laundry instead, ha! And now I'm watching Versailles and wishing I was in Ballard, where we saw this mother seagull trying to fledge her babies:









Friday, July 13, 2018

Poem for Friday and Marvel Universe

'Did all your heroes come out of the dark?'
By Chad Parmenter

We went to Gotham Theater to see
The Mark of Zorro. Tyrone Power wore
the name and cape, eclipsing every score
with gunfire. Such a sweet and distant screen—
I felt the world contract to him and me.
My mother's screams, my father's drunken snore
were shams, or dreams, as blurry as their scars
are now. But then, across the screen, a vein
of darkness ran, like ink, its tip a blade.

Some vandal slashed the screen? Then ran away.
They didn't stop the movie? No, it played,

and Zorro wore a moving wound. Then? Stay
in this, a second. Feel the urge to pray

to him? He's only light, though. So is day.


This poem is part of Bat & Man: A Sonnet Comic Book, an imagined conversation between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle in which Catwoman's parts are in italics and Batman wants to keep his identity a secret.

I had chores to do on Thursday, but I also had a pass for an EX raid, so after doing the chores in the morning, I went to meet friends for a couple of hours around lunch and successfully raided a Mewtwo, an Absol (sadly not a shiny one), and a Regice, at Starbucks, Cabin John Park, and Park Potomac respectively. (I also managed to pick up bagels, stop in Walgreens, and less exciting things in between the raids.)

When I got home, I had a massive post-trip laundry to fold, so I put on Thor. And even though we spent the post-dinner hour watching the season finale of The Handmaid's Tale, which I found really very satisfying and thought-provoking though I don't quite believe Serena (but I adore Emily and Rita, for entirely different reasons, and yay for that show and Westworld's Emmy nominations), Thor put me in the mood for MoPOP's Marvel Universe of Superheroes exhibit:

Doctor Strange

Iron Man(s)

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Guardians of the Galaxy

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Asgardians (and, you know, me)

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Captain America and The Winter Soldier

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Black Widow

Peter Parker's homemade Spider-Man suit, a bit worse for wear after rescuing Vulture

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Poem for Thursday and Great Falls Virginia

Under the Waterfall
By Thomas Hardy

"Whenever I plunge my arm, like this,
In a basin of water, I never miss
The sweet sharp sense of a fugitive day
Fetched back from the thickening shroud of grey.
    Hence the only prime
    And real love-rhyme
    That I know by heart
    And that leaves no smart,
Is the purl of a little valley fall
About three spans wide and two spans tall
Over a table of solid rock
And into a scoop of the self-same block;
The purl of a runlet that never ceases
In stir of kingdoms, in wars, in peaces;
With a hollow, boiling voice it speaks
And has spoken since hills were turfless peaks."

"And why gives this the only prime
Idea to you of a real love-rhyme?
And why does plunging your arm in a bowl
Full of spring water, bring throbs to your soul?"
"Well, under the fall, in a crease of the stone,
Though where precisely none ever has known,
Jammed darkly, nothing to show how prized,
And by now with its smoothness opalised,
    Is a drinking-glass:
    For, down that pass,
    My love and I
    Walked under a sky
Of blue with a leaf-wove awning of green,
In the burn of August, to paint the scene,
And we placed our basket of fruit and wine
By the runlet's rim, where we sat to dine;
And when we had drunk from the glass together,
Arched by the oak-copse from the weather,
I held the vessel to rinse in the fall,
Where it slipped, and sank, and was past recall,
Though we stooped and plumbed the little abyss
With long bared arms. There the glass still is.
And, as said, if I thrust my arm below
Cold water in basin or bowl, a throe
From the past awakens a sense of that time,
And the glass we used, and the cascade's rhyme.
The basin seems the pool, and its edge
The hard smooth face of the brook-side ledge,
And the leafy pattern of china-ware
The hanging plants that were bathing there.

"By night, by day, when it shines or lours,
There lies intact that chalice of ours,
And its presence adds to the rhyme of love
Persistently sung by the fall above.
No lip has touched it since his and mine
In turn therefrom sipped lovers' wine."


Laurie was in town with her family, so on Wednesday I got together with her and her son as well as my friend Alice and her son (they're both into Pokemon and Smash tournaments, so they get along great) for lunch at Metro 29 Diner in Arlington, then a walk at Great Falls Park in Virginia. It was quite hot, especially after having been in Seattle, but the river was pretty, there were herons, cormorants, and turkey vultures, and we left the diner before Croatia beat England and much wailing apparently ensued.

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Traffic coming home to get Paul was horrific and it took me an hour, after which we opted not to go back out and meet the others for dinner but ate frozen chick'n nuggets. In the evening we did some post-travel chores and caught up on The Handmaid's Tale from two weeks ago (when did Bradley Whitford turn so evil? Still haven't seen the season finale, do not spoil me) and The 100 (dragging a bit with the wild changes in alliance but maybe it was the lack of Kabby that made me feel that way).