Friday, September 25, 2020

Poem for Friday and George's Estate

When I'm Old
By Michael Holding

When I'm old and mankey,
I'll never use a hanky.
I'll wee on plants
and soil my pants
and sometimes get quite cranky.


I have nothing exciting on Thursday apart from fighting with Facebook's sucky new interface. I have a bunch of photos uploaded but I can't make them public or move them into the right albums. Either it will eventually get fixed, or people have seen all the old photos I can manage to post! After some necessary work, I went back to my neglected scanning project on old papers and found elementary school stuff in a folder with college essays! 

We caught up on The 100's penultimate episode (wondering how bad the death count will be but it's time, next week) and on the season finale of Dead Pixels (it's a ripoff that Usman's wife and her coworker weren't having sex in the kitchen while Usman was trying to defeat the Hive Mother). Now I'm watching A Simple Favor because I was in the mood for it. From Mount Vernon on the grounds around the Colonial Fair:







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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Poem for Thursday, Woodpecker, Enola Holmes

By Vincent Starrett

Here dwell together still two men of note
Who never lived and so can never die:
How very near they seem, yet how remote
That age before the world went all awry.
But still the game’s afoot for those with ears
Attuned to catch the distant view-halloo:
England is England yet, for all our fears–
Only those things the heart believes are true.

A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
As night descends upon this fabled street:
A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
And it is always eighteen ninety-five.


I am super cranky tonight because I just read an article about how the virus is mutating and getting worse, and although I had a lovely lunchtime conversation with my high school friends (who have all had kids at home the entire shutdown), they all felt strongly that we should not go visit our kids on the west coast until -- I guess until there's a vaccine that works and is widely distributed? So probably 2022 if it hasn't mutated again -- and we're past the equinox so the long miserable dark of winter is coming. 

And Facebook will no longer let me switch back to "legacy" mode and change photo dates and albums, grrrr. Plus I'm sad about Gale Sayers' death even though I've known he had dementia for a long time; I had Brian's Song streaming on YouTube while doing work today and realized that the Kirk/Spock "this simple feeling" scene in sickbay in Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a direct visual echo of the hospital scene at the end of the former, and I may need to write an article on American masculinity and the development of the concept of bromance in film. I love how Piccolo accepts that Sayers is a better football player, can outrun him and teach him his own position, and rather than suffering white male fragility grows from this. 

At least The Masked Singer is back, and although Nick Cannon should have been made to apologize publicly for the anti-Semitic shit he condoned this summer and although Jenny McCarthy and Robin Thicke are hugely problematic, I am very happy to be distracted by giant singing giraffes and a pair of snow owls (I'd love it to be Donnie and Marie but I'm betting they're the Houghs or someone not as interesting). Afterward, we watched Enola Holmes, which was surprisingly great, funnier than I expected and loads better than Sherlock's sister episodes both in terms of girl power and in terms of relevant period politics! 





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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Poem for Wednesday and Copperhead Camouflage

The Imagined Copperhead
By Andrew Hudgins

Without intending to hide,
the imagined copperhead
hid on the path ahead,
unseen on bronze leaves, unheard,
and a mortal likelihood   
at every step. This was childhood,
mine, the wood’s jihad   
against a boy who’d
intruded among monkshood,
wasp, tick, and nettles haired
with needles. Scrub brush abhorred
him with a horde
of  welts, bites, and stings, but he’d
never seen a copperhead,
though he’d looked hard
taking, as he’d been ordered, heed.
The snake wasn’t a falsehood,
though, to him. Dread
was his nature, and he hared
through sunlight and shade, head
swiveling for the copperhead
he’d begun to covet, the ballyhooed
killer a camouflaged godhead
on which his inborn faith cohered,
and his priesthood.


Tuesday was quiet, nice weather, I sent texts on behalf of Biden-Harris for National Voter Registration Day and watched the squirrels and chipmunks chase each other on the deck, plus some bluejays, a woodpecker, and some little yellow finches. We saw a murder (the crow variety) too, when we took a walk in the afternoon, plus deer, the cul-de-sac bunny, and a baby bunny in the yard two doors down that I'm not sure we've seen before, though it could be one of the ones from a different cul-de-sac showing up here. 

My Voyager fan friends from over 20 years ago and I started our rewatch in the evening and that was huge fun -- we'd forgotten details from "Caretaker" and it's just awesome to be able to message through the whole thing with people I knew through the whole craziness of that era. I also saw the Nationals walk-off victory and some of the miserable Orioles-Red Sox game before I put on Due South because I could not stomach the news. These pics are mostly the baby copperhead from Black Hill Park, just so you're warned!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Greetings from What Time Is It

Facebook has decided this evening that whether I'm using the old or new format, I'm not allowed to see my own photos except in album view (nor reply to comments people left on them), and Blogger apparently sets of Facebook's content warning triggers, and LiveJournal is supposed to be down for maintenance, so no one may see this entry anyway and I'll keep it short. 

It was a gorgeous day without much excitement, though I did set foot in a grocery store. We had gone to take a walk at Cabin John Park and stopped at the local vegetable stand, but they were out of corn and cider and Paul was so disappointed that we risked a dash in and out of Giant (no crowds, no lines, everyone had masks on). We're getting most food delivered tomorrow. 

The bunny on our cul-de-sac was munching in our neighbor's yard and the cats were all piled on beds upstairs in honor of the cooler weather. We watched Antiques Roadshow and football in the evening (not rooting for the Raiders even if they're in Vegas now). Here is some music from Mount Vernon's Colonial Fair yesterday, including violins being made by a local craftsman: 

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Monday, September 21, 2020

Greetings from Mount Vernon

The weather on Sunday was just as gorgeous as Saturday. It was a Pokemon Community Day, so I caught some Porygons before we went to Mount Vernon and met Cheryl for the annual Colonial Fair, which the estate decided to hold this year although George Washington's mansion is closed because the fair events are entirely outdoors and masks are required to be on the property, even at the farm. They didn't have as many vendors as in previous years -- the lacemaker/weaver wasn't there, nor was the awesome bread, cheese, and mustard seller -- but the potter with the ships on vases and the glassmaker who makes pagan and Harry Potter-themed bottles as well as traditional ones were, and it was just a gorgeous day for walking down to the river and around the farm. 


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We drove home in the late afternoon, then had dinner and watched the Emmy Awards, which started out amusing -- Jimmy Kimmel pretending last year's audience was his current audience before showing the standees in the almost-empty theater. But I've never seen Schitt's Creek, which swept the major comedy categories, and I'm really confused about the series versus limited series versus miniseries eligibility rules and why Watchmen isn't in the bigger category. I'm very glad the latter won everything it won, and that RuPaul won. I'm not even sorry Mark Ruffalo beat Hugh Jackman because Jackman these days is all about what he can sell, while Ruffalo, with whom I strongly disagree about what constitutes progressive politics, is a committed environmentalist. And Tyler Perry was great.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Greetings from Black Hill Park

Saturday was a gorgeous day, breezy and clear. I did a bunch of chores in the morning, then after lunch we went to Black Hill Regional Park, which had a surprising number of cars in the parking lot and seemed to be having an event in the public picnic area, but didn't have a lot of people by the lake except at the boat launch and had mostly masked families on the trail -- just one biker. I only saw a bald eagle right after we got there, flying over the visitor center too fast for me to get a photo, but we saw lots of other birds including a green heron and a baby copperhead practically tripped Paul on the trail (don't scroll through the photos if you don't want to see a venomous snake)! 






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We had the rest of the leftover Asian food from last weekend for dinner, then we watched A Bear Named Winnie, which is based on the story of the bear in the London Zoo who inspired A.A. Milne to write Winnie the Pooh. Before Winnie was in the zoo, she was brought to England by a Canadian cavalry regiment whose veterinarian had rescued the young bear and named her Winnipeg. Being a family movie, there wasn't a lot of World War I in the movie, but being a World War I drama, it was a lot of "we were soldiers together" and I really thought Michael Fassbender and his timid best friend Jonathon Young might get married and adopt the bear before remembering that it was a WWI movie.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Greetings for Rosh Hashanah

My Friday only moderately sucked up until the moment I found out that Ruth Bader Ginsberg had died, and now I am in a pit of depression and frustration. I just unfriended my last few high school and college acquaintances justifying/supporting the current administration -- I had them filtered anyway but I don't want my name showing up as a friend of evil. I am certainly not asking them to forgive me if my posts have offended them this past year, but I'm not worried: if there was really a God who smote the unrighteous, we wouldn't be this deep in the shit-show to begin with. 

Anyway, I woke up early pretty sore from my shingles vaccine, though Advil made that better and my arm isn't aching now. We had a quiet day recuperating and even took a short walk on which we saw both cul-de-sac bunnies. Then we went to my parents for Rosh Hashanah dinner, where we lit candles and said blessings via FaceTime with my sister's family, ate, then Skyped my kids between dinner and dessert. The Nationals were losing when we got home and proceeded to lose by a lot more, but at that point I just wanted distraction so we watched the new episode of The Boys

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Friday, September 18, 2020

Poem for Friday and Dyke Marsh Skinks

By Rodney Jones

Gram of mania, animated pepper,
shadow-monger dressed in panic,
monitor of  ghostly footfalls,
it concentrates in its essential tic
the frog leg dropped into oil
and the human shock at the verge.
If  it would stop and let me look,
I might imagine the tropic
where it hangs in a hammock
between two popsicle sticks
admiring the iguana’s stealth,
but it does not stop. Hawk-
dodger, crow-pretzel, gallows’
twitch. Spider-shark. Porter
of  readiness, miller of  the
steady shudder, peripatetic
rectitude, run by the power
of   the sunlit rock, it fortifies
Darwin and the idea of   being late
and the missed appointment.
With its blue tail, it reminds us:
it will go on. It will not stop.


I had a very medical Thursday. Around lunchtime, I had an eye doctor appointment -- I'd been putting it off, but I'm supposed to get the retinal scan at least yearly because of various health and family history risk factors, and my eyes have been very itchy from allergy season and too much screen time so I wanted to make sure nothing else was up.

Turns out my eyes are fine, but the doctor had been running half an hour late so I took a walk while waiting and found out that CVS had gotten the Shingrix shots back in stock. So Paul came with me just as the rain was starting and we both got vaccinated against shingles -- though not the flu, as they had an hours-long wait for those!

In the early evening, we had a family Zoom call, so I got to talk to my aunt and uncle, cousins, and sister as well as my parents. We had pizza for dinner and watched the Bengals-Browns game in solidarity with various relatives on both sides of the family who cared about the outcome far more than I did. We saw many skinks in Dyke Marsh and here are some:








Thursday, September 17, 2020

Poem for Thursday and Canal Animals

Carnivorous, with a varied and opportunistic diet
By Daria-Ann Martineau

Call me lagahoo, soucouyant. Call me other.
I came ravenous: mongoose consuming
fresh landscapes until I made myself

new species of the Indies.
Christen me how you wish, my muzzle
matted with blood of fresh invertebrates.

I disappear your problems
without thought to consequence.
Call me Obeah. Watch me cut

through cane, chase
sugar-hungry rats. Giggling
at mating season, I grow fat

multiples, litters thick as tropic air.
Don’t you find me beautiful? My soft animal
features, this body streamlined ruthless,

claws that won’t retract. You desire them.
You never ask me what I want. I take
your chickens, your iguana,

you watch me and wonder
when you will be outnumbered.
My offspring stalking your village,

ecosystems uprooted, roosts
swallowed whole.
I am not native. Not domesticated.

I am naturalized, resistant
to snake venoms, your colony’s toxins—
everything you brought me to,

this land. I chew and spit back
reptile and bird bone
prophecy strewn across stones.


Wednesday was fairly quiet and not terrible, since I got to talk to my three best high school friends at lunchtime on Google Meet, though two of them are dealing with serious health problems for senior relatives so they couldn't stay on long. Still, it is really nice just to check in face to face regularly!

Otherwise, got some trivial stuff done, took a walk, watched The 100 as it heads into the endgame (they can keep killing off men and letting the women make decisions), then ABC's special on the Notre Dame Cathedral fire and aftermath. Here's some canal wildlife (including a snake if you're one who avoids photos):