Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Poem for Wednesday

From 'The Gardener'
By Rabindranath Tagore

Speak to me, my love! Tell me in words what you sang.
The night is dark. The stars are lost in clouds. The
wind is sighing through the leaves.
I will let loose my hair. My blue cloak will cling round me like night. I
will clasp your head to my bosom; and there in the sweet loneliness murmur
on your heart. I will shut my eyes and listen. I will not look in your face.
When your words are ended, we will sit still and silent. Only the trees will whisper
in the dark.
The night will pale. The day will dawn. We shall look at each other's eyes and go
on our different paths.
Speak to me, my love! Tell me in words what you sang
Then finish the last song and let us leave.
Forget this night when the night is no more.
Whom do I try to clasp in my arms? Dreams can never be made captive.
My eager hands press emptiness to my heart and it bruises my heart.


You people are the GREATEST. I feel much better this morning, even though I had a strange dream about living in a dorm with huge glass windows right above where my school's basketball team played, which was fun but noisy and distracting. In the dream I think the school was Indiana, even though I went to Penn. I do have a very good friend in Bloomington but I have never seen their team play live, and the only connection I can come up with is that Penn's provost from the 1980s left to become president of IU and promptly got into trouble for criticizing Bobby Knight's behavior...see what March Madness does to me even after I've stopped really paying attention because once it's down to non-local powerhouses, how can I really care?

Last year at this time I was getting ready to go to London. I am sure this is one reason I am depressed. We are, in theory, going to England next year, but that still feels very remote and far away (even though time seems to be moving faster and faster every year, which scares me) and my kids have spring break next week and other than Passover and them spending a night with my in-laws, we have no firm plans. It's likely we'll spend Friday-Sunday in Hanover but even that's not for sure and I have no idea what we'll do up there if we go. Ah well, at least I'll get to see the groundhog.

Some links. From The Onion (note: this means it's fake!), "New Strip Mall Of America Stretches Over 1/6th Of North Dakota". This made me howl and howl, though I can't even explain why it's so funny, really -- maybe from having driven across the country last summer and realizing that, yep, the strip malls are the same in every corner, even the ones with photocopied "Jesus Pray For Us Sinners" in plastic sheet-holders hung in gas station bathrooms. Then I made the horrifying and traumatic discovery that next week is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Week! I guess it's nice that they sort-of timed it with Passover, when I am technically supposed to be getting rid of all the leavening in my home. I do this ceremonially by getting rid of the stale breakfast cereal in the pantry.

Do I sound in need of spiritual uplift? Well, last night I discovered that all the cards in The Sacred Circle Tarot are online, including the Five of Swords, whose image is clearly based on the stone circle at Avebury where this picture was taken around this time last year...sigh. I'm getting nostalgic again. I need someone to tell me something unexpectedly wonderful, even if it has nothing to do with me personally -- come and tell me your good news, no matter how silly and trivial it might be.

ETA: Am going to California Tortilla for lunch with . Their newsletter notes that Mrs. Robinson was supposed to be 35 in The Graduate, and apparently Anne Bancroft was 36 when she played the role. I feel terribly old all of a sudden!

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

My Husband Is Nuts

...yes, even more than me. Okay, I know a lot of you think I am nuts for thinking the gerbils and the squirrels look like the Men of Gondor and the boys on the boat, but my husband has, for the past several nights during the news, compared Condoleezza Rice to our cat Rosie, claiming that the cabinet member does the "Feed Me" glare exactly the way the cat does.

This morning he offered photographic proof.

National Security Adviser
Hungry Cat

There's professional help for people who believe that their cats are secretly government agents, isn't there?

Poem for Tuesday

Smudged Glass
by Michael "Coyote" Schroll

Almost thought I saw unreal,
A moon so bright and clear.
Was in the East and hung so low,
It seemed so very near.

I think on back long years ago,
When you and I were new.
Lookin' through a nose smudged glass,
A moon just seen by two.

That night was calm as I recal,
Was tender and so slow.
The candles burned and music flowed,
Our love we came to know.

I miss the look, deep in your eyes,
That smile you always had.
Not much in this old cowboys life,
Has turned so very bad.

It's missin' now, that naked truth,
We had it once upon.
The moon we saw and wondered at,
Has darkened, and it's gone.


From The Cowboy Poetry Archives. I had a dream about being at Yellowstone and woke up nostalgic.

Emerald Pool, Yellowstone National Park.

Castle Geyser erupting.

The lake from the lodge where we stayed.

Firehole Falls.

Morning Glory pool, with trees reflected.

Yellowstone Falls.

The bear in the campground parking lot who made lodge dining a necessity.

Am having impromptu lunch with (a.k.a. my beloved husband) and so must go shower and get my life in order!

Monday, March 29, 2004

Poem for Monday

By Shel Silverstein

My skin is kind of sort of brownish
Pinkish yellowish white.
My eyes are greyish blueish green,
but I'm told they look orange in the night.
My hair is reddish blondish brown,
But it's silver when it's wet.
And all the colors I am inside
Have not been invented yet.


A day late, but still for . Look, he spelled "colors" right! Hee! I'm curious, Canadian and British people who protest that here in the U.S. we get your books published with the spelling corrected to American standard: when you read our poets, has the spelling been Britishized (or Britishised as the case may be)? Is this poem called "Colours" in your editions?

This awesome, rocking Master and Commander meme gacked from among many others:

Master & Commander by ForAllLove
Your middle name:
Your favorite sail:
You will go on a voyage with:Diana Villiers
Because:you intend to commandeer the ship
For the voyage, Stephen will give you a:
But it will:eat the coffee
And Aubrey will make you:knit him a sweater with a large S in a heart on the front (He obviously loves ships)
Created with quill18's MemeGen 3.0!

I had to do it again with the spanker as my favorite sail (so would be proud of me, heh). But then I was sailing with Mr. Lamb and looking for Jack Sparrow and helping Killick in the kitchen, which was just not nearly so satisfying. Plus my kangaroo died. I am so much happier keeping Diana occupied while Jack is swooning over his S, whether or not we commandeer the ship, though I am curious about exactly what happens to the coffee...

Gacked from :

Boy the Bear's Age Gauge
You said your birthday is 12 / 11 / 1966
which means you are 37 years old and about:
50 years 1 month younger than Walter Cronkite, age 87
46 years 7 months younger than Pope John Paul II, age 83
42 years 6 months younger than George Herbert Bush, age 79
35 years 3 months younger than Barbara Walters, age 72
33 years 1 month younger than Larry King, age 70
26 years 10 months younger than Ted Koppel, age 64
23 years 5 months younger than Geraldo Rivera, age 60
20 years 5 months younger than George W. Bush, age 57
15 years 5 months younger than Jesse Ventura, age 52
11 years 1 month younger than Bill Gates, age 48
6 years 4 months younger than Cal Ripken Jr., age 43
0 years 5 months younger than Mike Tyson, age 37
3 years 7 months older than Jennifer Lopez, age 33
9 years 1 month older than Tiger Woods, age 28
15 years 6 months older than Prince William, age 21
and that you were:
34 years old at the time of the 9-11 attack on America
33 years old on the first day of Y2K
30 years old when Princess Diana was killed in a car crash
28 years old at the time of Oklahoma City bombing
27 years old when O. J. Simpson was charged with murder
26 years old at the time of the 93 bombing of the World Trade Center
24 years old when Operation Desert Storm began
22 years old during the fall of the Berlin Wall
19 years old when the space shuttle Challenger exploded
17 years old when Apple introduced the Macintosh
16 years old during Sally Ride's travel in space
14 years old when Pres. Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr.
12 years old at the time the Iran hostage crisis began
9 years old on the U.S.'s bicentennial Fourth of July
7 years old when President Nixon left office
5 years old when Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace was shot
2 years old at the time the first man stepped on the moon
a 1 year old when Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated

And from , who will have a better night out, a quiz with that alternate spelling of color which undoubtedly affected my outcome:

Your Night Out With Remus J. Lupin by astraynotion
Favourite book
Eye colour
Remus isexhausted after the recent full moon, but still witty conversation.
He cant get enough ofyour cleavage.
The night starts out withRemus turning up late. Good to see him panting already.
It finishes up withRemus being a perfect gentlemen. Four times.
You have foundout that Remus really belongs with Sirius.
Created with quill18's MemeGen 3.0!

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Less-Exciting Sunday Photos

A redwing blackbird, Gaithersburg, Maryland.

It was a gorgeous mid-seventies spring day here. My older son had a two and a half hour baseball practice in Germantown, so we went down to Kentlands to do some shopping (The Walnut Tree closed early -- grr! -- and the candle store always closes at four on Sundays, but we managed to get most of it done anyway). I finished H.M.S. Surprise and stupidly forgot to bring The Mauritius Command with me, so since we had a lot of time and I didn't have anything to read, we went for a walk around the lake.

The trees are starting to show buds. This picture is looking toward the old National Geographic headquarters, though it's blocked here by the curve of the lake.

The geese and ducks in Gaithersburg don't migrate; there's plentiful food and tolerable weather all year. But soon there will be babies.

Crocuses, daffodils and a few tulips are in evidence, plus forsythia which I think may be contributing to my allergies. The cherry blossoms are starting downtown but we won't see them till the Japanese festival next weekend. Nothing I love more than eating green tea ice cream and looking at the trees.

Poem for Sunday

By John Greenleaf Whittier

So fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
  Which once he wore!
The glory from his gray hairs gone

Revile him not -- the Tempter hath
  A snare for all;
And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath,
  Befit his fall!

Oh! dumb be passion's stormy rage,
  When he who might
Have lighted up and led his age,
  Falls back in night.

Scorn! Would the angels laugh, to mark
  A bright soul driven,
Fiend-goaded, down the endless dark,
  From hope and heaven!

Let not the land, once proud of him,
  Insult him now,
Nor brand with deeper shame his dim,
  Dishonored brow.

But let its humbled sons, instead,
  From sea to lake,
A long lament, as for the dead,
  In sadness make.

Of all we loved and honored, nought
  Save power remains --
A fallen angel's pride of thought,
  Still strong in chains.

All else is gone; from those great eyes
  The soul has fled:
When faith is lost, when honor dies,
  The man is dead!

Then, pay the reverence of old days
  To his dead fame;
Walk backward, with averted gaze,
  And hide the shame!


From Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch in this morning's Washington Post Book World: "The 19th-century New England poet of place was also a fiery abolitionist and socially engaged protest poet...his best antislavery poems include the sardonic ballad "The Hunters of Men," "Songs of Slaves in the Desert" and "Ichabod!," a mournful lament and furious attack on Daniel Webster for supporting the Compromise of 1850, which included a new Fugitive Slave Law. Ichabod means "inglorious" in Hebrew, and Whittier applies it to Webster for betraying the anti-slavery cause.

Also, because it is 's birthday and she requested it: Shel Silverstein!

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Warning: Incoming.

So, a catch-up post.

Had lunch Friday with , , and another LOTR fic writer; had Thai food outdoors on a gorgeous spring day, and lots of fun despite the sunlight that made us all wish we'd brought better sunglasses. I'm trying to decide whether to go up with some of these lovely women to Connexions, which I can't really afford to attend, just to try to hook up with people (, , you'll be there won't you?). We discussed S&H fic, why certain incestuous pairings make us squick but others don't, and the secret existence of Simon and Garfunkel RPS. I will admit that the mere mention of the latter gave me illicit yet undeniable thrills.

Friday evening I finished articles for work -- Shatner on The Practice spinoff, Grand Slam coverage which I gacked for my Louise Fletcher page -- chatted with (whose birthday smut is absolutely refusing to let me write it), and toyed a bit with my entries for the week. I am reaching a point where I am dying to know who is writing and at the same time I don't want to know, because since I don't know it is possible very nearly to think of the character as "the real Damar" in some very screwy sense that I know would go away if I knew the writer. On the other hand, I think Kira has real feelings for Damar -- I thought this during the final episodes of DS9, long before I was writing her, as Kai Winn had my attention utterly at the time -- and I'd be curious to talk independently to the writer about where that could end up going or not going. This one might be fun simply to play out blind.

This morning we had the model seder with the younger son at the Hebrew school for most of the morning while the older son was playing at a friend's house. Two of the four rabbis were there but it was a madhouse anyway; this is one of those times when I always feel like the Hebrew school and the congregation itself are much too big for me, though at the same time there are always people there I feel comfortable with because the crowd is so big and diverse. "Model seder" means that only the essential foods are there -- matzah, bitter herb, parsley, charoset, egg -- no gefilte fish, no soup, no meal, though there were chocolate macaroons. Our son was very annoyed that he didn't find the afikoman, though with 100 kids in the room and only four prizes this was really to be expected, particularly since he did not go dance around on "Dayenu" and thus get an opportunity to scope the room like those who did dance.

When we went to pick our older son up, I thanked the friend's mother for having him while we were busy at Hebrew school and got into a really interesting conversation with her about religious education and kids. She and her husband are from Bangladesh, nominally Muslim, non-practicing; she described herself as agnostic, and does not appear to be at all traditional -- they eat pepperoni pizza and were worried we might have issues with our son eating it, but we don't follow Jewish dietary tradition either. They've lived in this country since before their children were born and apparently had gotten out of the habit of telling people that they were Muslim but she said that in recent months she's been doing so and proudly -- her husband travels a lot for business and is really tired of always being the one person pulled out by airport security for a thorough search and interrogation. She was reflecting aloud on the subject of whether she should be giving her kids a basic education, which by definition would probably expose them to beliefs that she and her husband don't share.

My gut reaction was that I wouldn't want to feel obligated to raise my kids in a tradition that I didn't personally share -- I've been quite irked when my mother has suggested that I should do more Jewish stuff with my kids, particularly since we didn't do those things when I was younger (my mother had a religious revival when I married the son of a Lutheran pastor) and since we do things that my parents never did with me, like going to the Skirball Museum in L.A. But because my Jewish education was so non-traditional and so non-focused on religion per se, I had a very strong albeit unconventional sense of my own beliefs by high school, when I was first exposed to proselytizing Christians; and if I'd been exposed to that kind of Campus Crusade outreach without that strong sense of being Jewish, I have no idea how susceptible I would have been to it. And I resent the fuck out of Campus Crusade, coming in like a cult and targeting vulnerable kids who haven't had a chance to form their own sense of who they are, spiritually. I'm wondering whether I don't think that basic education in one's own religious traditions mustn't be a good thing even if the parents don't believe some or even most of its tenets. I've certainly told my kids that I don't believe in a God who would flood the world to near-extinction, nor in a God who would kill the firstborn of an entire nation to prove a point to that nation's leader.

Anyway...after we got home from the seder my in-laws arrived, my husband made pancakes and eggs for everyone for lunch, I did the dishes, we discussed religion and politics as we always do (in case I have failed to make this clear, I absolutely love my in-laws), we talked about Aunt Jean's plan for a family reunion in Washington next year and to my delight I discovered that I wasn't going to have any argument here, as my husband's parents are both annoyed that she picked a place within driving distance for both her kids and their families but which would require my husband's parents, two sons, their spouses and five children total to fly in. I suspect that if the reunion happens, it will be in Seattle rather than a lodge by Mount St. Helens, which means that we can see other friends in Seattle and avoid a three hour drive after a flight in.

The sociopolitical discussion of the day was about Karen Armstrong's books on religion and Middle Eastern and American politics, our mutual support for civil gay marriage -- man but I wish my father in law was a Lutheran bishop and not just a retired pastor -- the conditions of women's lives in just about any theocracy, be it Jewish, Christian or Muslim, whether it would be a bad idea for my mother to be my son's Hebrew school teacher next year when she is clearly the best Hebrew school teacher for third graders, and assorted topics like that. Did I mention I love my in-laws? All the more so because I only talk to them about once a week, whereas I talk to my parents often enough to hear more of their schtick than I really want.

Anyway, once the UConn game ended, the grandparents volunteered to take our older son to his baseball practice, and my husband and I went to the movies -- he hadn't seen Starsky and Hutch yet, so we went to see that, and I think I enjoyed it even more this time around; Starsky is so gay, the urge to write fic may simply become irresistible. Seventies nostalgia just makes me prostrate; all anyone has to do is put on certain songs and I go all gooey. Even watching Virtuosity last week, with Russell Crowe playing an utter sadistic bastard, I melted during the scene where he walks through the mall while "Stayin' Alive" is blasting.

After the movie we went out to dinner and discussed how broke we will become if we do all the traveling we want and repair the deck and the things in our house that really have to be done. We have treated our townhouse as a temporary domicile -- it was understood when we bought it that we intended to sell it a few years down the road to buy a bigger house -- but at this point we'd have to move way out of the school district to afford anyplace we'd want to live, and I'd rather just stay in one place and save the money to travel, even though on days like this I urgently want my own room for my computer and my stuff (our dining room table is our common desk; we haven't used it for eating in at least three years).

Boy, I'm all over the place rambling tonight. PSA: has posted "The Republican Code of Ethics" which would have amused me greatly were it not so damn true. And since I'm babbling, I might as well provide: .

Where Were You:

When Mt. St. Helens blew (18/5/1980)

In junior high school, sitting in class; my English teacher told us that it had happened. We'd been anticipating it, as we'd been discussing the fact that it was expected to blow earlier in the week. (I learned that Reagan had been shot in front of that same building as we waited for the bus at 2:40, and I learned that John Lennon had died upon arriving at school early the morning after it happened, when a number boys who wouldn't normally have been caught dead crying in front of anyone were crying together in front of their lockers.)

I'm going to interject another one because I've never forgotten:
When Anwar Sadat was assassinated (6/10/1981)
I learned that Sadat had been assassinated in U.S. history class in tenth grade. We walked in, sat down, and our teacher said, "Sadat was assassinated this morning. How will this affect the Middle East?" We sat and discussed it for half an hour before he realized that we were all assuming that this was a hypothetical class assignment and not something that had, in fact, happened, and he put on the radio. There were a lot of very upset people after that.

When the space shuttle Challenger exploded (28/1/1986)
Working at the University of Pennsylvania newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. The executive editor came out of his office to tell us; we thought at first that it was a sick joke on his part, then a sick joke on the part of someone working at the Associated Press. And then we left, since there was no television in the building, and went to a dorm to watch.

When the 7.1 earthquake hit San Francisco (7/10/1989)
Watching the World Series with my fiance (now my husband) and friends from the graduate English program at the University of Maryland. We saw it live on television when the network lost their feed.

When the Berlin Wall fell (7/11/1989)
I don't remember where I was when I first heard that it was happening; I remember, at some point later, standing in the kitchen of our apartment in Bethesda, Maryland listening to the TV in the other room and thinking about the fact that while I was growing up, I had truly expected there to be a nuclear war during my lifetime between NATO and the Soviet bloc, and the Soviet bloc was disappearing as we watched.

When the Gulf War began (16/1/1991)
I don't remember where I was when it began; what I remember is sitting in an evening English class at the University of Chicago fifteen minutes after the first reports came in that Iraq was bombing Israel, listening to an endless lecture on some Modernist poet and thinking that academia was utter bullshit. I ended up blowing out early to go watch the news; I couldn't stand sitting there.

When OJ Simpson was chased in his White Bronco (17/6/1994)
We were at my husband's family reunion in Eugene, Oregon. As people arrived, they convened in Aunt Jean's room, around the television. I couldn't really watch because I had a crawling baby to follow. It still seems very surreal.

When the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed (19/4/1995)
I'm not sure where I was when the actual bombing took place; I had been out someplace during the day, turned on the afternoon news and there it was.

When Princess Di was killed (31/8/1997)
We were watching a movie on video -- I can't remember which -- and when we turned it off, the news was reporting that Diana had been seriously injured in a car accident. We learned that she had died before we went to bed.

When the shootings at Columbine occured (25/05/1999)
Doing stuff with my kids; I didn't even hear about it until the evening news.

When Bush was first announced President (7/11/2000)
We stayed up till two a.m. with "Too Close To Call" flashing on the screen and then woke up a few hours later to the same image. My friend Veronica was in Washington from London and had stayed up much of the night in a bar in DC watching people watch the news; we met for lunch and discussed our certainty that one way or another Bush would manage to be handed the election. I honestly don't remember where I was when the announcement was made, because I'd been bracing myself for it and wasn't in the least surprised, just miserable.

When terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center (11/9/2001)
I've posted about this here.

When Columbia disintegrated during re-entry over Texas. (1/2/2003)
Sitting at this computer, reading my morning e-mail, which included the alert from The Washington Post with the news. I shrieked, "The space shuttle blew up!" and my husband thought I was having some kind of strange flashback to Challenger. I got up and turned on the TV, and there it was.

Spotted most recently via . Turquoise gave me Pippin, so I tried being more vague and got:

What would happen if you date a random Lord of the Rings guy? by Jace
Favourite Color
You will have a date withFaramir
He will wearsporty attire.
The two of you willgo shopping for your date's clothes.
And eatchinese food.
Your date will end at about11:00pm
After your date, you get a/antoken of appreciation.
Created with quill18's MemeGen 3.0!

And from :

Your Johnny Depp family by
Your Username
What he will wear on your wedding
You will name your sonSamuel Edward
You will
name you daughter
Kelsey Rae
This is your dog
His name isKiller
You will live inHawaii
Are you happy?What do you think?
Created with quill18's MemeGen 3.0

Happy Birthday ! That is all.

Poem for Saturday

A Newborn Girl at Passover
By Nan Cohen

Consider one apricot in a basket of them.
It is very much like all the other apricots--
an individual already, skin and seed.

Now think of this day. One you will probably forget.
The next breath you take, a long drink of air.
Holiday or not, it doesn't matter.

A child is born and doesn't know what day it is.
The particular joy in my heart she cannot imagine.
The taste of apricots is in store for her.


In honor of Passover, an egg.

Gacked from , fun:

cruisedirector's Friend Fusion
...all the patients off to cheaper doctors in China. Me: How comforting. (I'm studying Engineering. Whee.) Mom: Hey, look on the you by Quizilla mmmmmm...Boromir *drools* That is all. *sigh* So much work to do today. Spring Break is definitely over. ...on the inside not outside. Superstitious and ludicrous. Spendthrift. Tries to learn to show emotions. MARCH: Attractive personality. Sexy. Affectionate. Shy .... . . . . a5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...gravitate to the NC-17 variety, so don't read if this might offend you The Poison Glen by kirby crow Because it ...great. he's playing a bad guy, again. typecast even on american tv." (apparently, i must think i'm MacBean's agent or something. ...and funny, but to me that's normal for Ricky. XD Still, he was good as a villainous character. I like him ...factor suggests that nativist bigotry may still have a grip on the cultural elite. Crowley Stealing Harry It is delicious to ...should this stay or should this go? advice? ps. IS LJ having issues with the user photos or is it just ...**sniff** for some reason I thought the punishment/no crime was for team 2....wrote, what is in my opinion a wonderful angsty ...
Make your own LJ Friend Fusion

LJ Friend Fusion by

Am rushing out to a model seder at my son's Hebrew school. More later.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Poem for Friday

Saddest Poem
By Pablo Neruda

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.

Write, for instance: "The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance."

The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don't have her. To feel that I've lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn't keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That's all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.

As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.

I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Someone else's. She will be someone else's. As she once
belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.

Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.


No Friday Five. , Religious 5:
1. What, if any, episodes of your fandom celebrate a specific religious holiday?

None. It's a big reason why Star Trek is my fandom, though I think they're being entirely unrealistic about the sudden death of all religion in less than 300 years. The religious holidays that have gotten the most air time on Trek have been alien; my favorites are Bajoran, though I'm not sure Peldor Joi ("Fascination") counts as religious as opposed to cultural. It's funny, because while I would cry my eyes out if Trek did a Christmas party episode, I would like some indication somewhere that Jews are not extinct in the 23rd century. If Chakotay can have a medicine bundle to use off-duty, can't someone have a mezuzah?
2. If you have knowledge/experience with non-Judeo/Christian religions, does your fandom realistically depict non-Judeo/Christian religions?
Trek tends to make all religion and most spirituality look incredibly stupid, which bugs me; the recent Enterprise episode with the followers of the sphere-builders is a perfect example. Yes, people do moronic things in the name of religion and I like seeing that portrayed on television, but it doesn't mean that belief, itself, makes one an idiot or a deluded fanatic. Deep Space Nine did a far more complex job dealing with spirituality than any of the other series, though they had their moments of idiocy as well (the Grand Nagus converted by the Prophets...never mind, I don't want to remember this). They weren't terrible with Chakotay and Native American spirituality though it was highly simplistic and in "Tattoo" he largely disavowed the belief system anyway, saying it was just tradition for him.
3. Which of your fandom’s characters profess a religion?
Worf, Kira and Chakotay are the three whose religious beliefs got the most air time, though many of the aliens have dealt in some way with spirituality and afterlife (one of the few things Voyager got right with Neelix). Klingon religious and spiritual life was a complicated mess, with their messiah's clone returning and Worf being at the center of the controversy about the legitimacy of Kahless...and while my beloved Kai Winn certainly professed a religion, she was deliberately disobedient to the Prophets. Kirk, of course, met God in The Final Frontier and tried to kill him, but then, he is Kirok!
4. Do your fandom’s characters act in ways that seem at odds with their professed religions?
Well, yes, because the point of most episodes involving religion is usually to show how stupid religion is. Thus one gets things like Dukat professing love for the Pah-wraiths while living an entirely self-interested, immoral life and manipulating hundreds of Bajorans in their name, or the aforementioned Enterprise episode with genocide going on in the name of a higher power.
5. What fanfic deals well with the characters' religions?
I remember once reading a Sisko story dealing with his past-tense alter ego Benny and the preacher who wears the face of his father, which had African-American Baptist Christianity woven seamlessly throughout it in a very moving way, and now I can't find it! Does this ring a bell with anyone? In general I haven't read much fic dealing with religion because two of my favorite characters (Kirk, Janeway) are avowed atheists and two of the others (Kira, Chakotay) had their beliefs established in such a way on the show that fan writers tended just to fall back on quoting things they'd said in canon about their (non-traditional for most fan writers) beliefs.

Am off to visit with , and possibly others. More later!

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Poem for Thursday

A Stone
By Yves Bonnefoy

Once we took in these fields
Where sometimes a god burst out of a tree
(and it was our token, as night fell).

I would pressure you without making a sound,
I would feel your heaviness against our listening palms,
Oh, you obscure words of mine,
Barriers across the roads to the night.


This was translated from the French long ago, and I can't find the original anywhere; I'm not even sure of the title -- I don't think it's "Une Pierre" which appears to be a different poem entirely. Here's one I found in English with no translator named. I love his sense of words as objects.

Passer-By, These Are Words

Passer-by, these are words. But instead of reading
I want you to listen: to this frail
Voice like that of letters eaten by grass.

Lend an ear, hear first of all the happy bee
Foraging in our almost rubbed-out names.
It flits between two sprays of leaves,
Carrying the sound of branches that are real
To those that filigree the still unseen.

Then know an even fainter sound, and let it be
The endless murmuring of all our shades.
Their whisper rises from beneath the stones
To fuse into a single heat with that blind
Light you are as yet, who can still gaze.

May your listening be good! Silence
Is a threshold where a twig breaks in your hand,
Imperceptibly, as you attempt to disengage
A name upon a stone:

And so our absent names untangle your alarms.
And for you who move away, pensively,
Here becomes there without ceasing to be.


is having termite problems so I will not get to see her today, which is very sad, but I am expecting to see her and and others tomorrow at lunch which means that I may actually get most of my chores done today, if I can get my head screwed on better than it was yesterday.

Last night at two in the morning I woke my husband to ask him when the forms were due at the middle school -- I was having a dream involving middle school forms with the date on them -- and he got up cursing, ran downstairs and realized yep, today (they take four months to make admission decisions and give you less than ten days to get all the paperwork done). So very early this morning he was hunting for our property tax information which they need as proof of residence and I was hunting for report cards with student ID numbers. Am tired but very grateful to whichever higher power sent me that dream!

Elvishness gacked from :

You're the protective lover. Your greatest desire
is to be with the one you love and to hold her
in your arms, protecting her from the evils of
the worlds. Your quote means "My fate is
to sheild the one I love from the cold, cruel
world." I demand to be invited to the
wedding. You have no choice in the matter.
Which Elvish phrase are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

It was a good morning for Brokeback Mountain news: here, from London, and here, from Australia. Plus, gratuitous celebrity news for : Told you Paul Bettany was in Toronto. Heh.

And just because I'm in the mood for it, more proof that my squirrel really is Jack Aubrey.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Poem for Wednesday

By request, another one by Patten.

The Armada
By Brian Patten

   Long, long ago
when everything I was told was believable
and the little I knew was less limited than now,
I stretched belly down on the grass beside a pond
and to the far bank launched a child's armada.
   A broken fortress of twigs,
the paper-tissue sails of galleons,
the waterlogged branches of submarines -
all came to ruin and were on flame
in that dusk-red pond.
   And you, mother, stood behind me,
impatient to be going,
old at twenty-three, alone,
thin overcoat flapping.
   How closely the past shadows us.
In a hospital a mile or so from that pond
I kneel beside your bed and, closing my eyes,
reach out across forty years to touch once more
that pond's cool surface,
and it is your cool skin I'm touching;
for as on a pond a child's paper boat
was blown out of reach
by the smallest gust of wind,
so too have you been blown out of reach
by the smallest whisper of death,
and a childhood memory is sharpened,
and the heart burns as that armada burnt,
long, long ago.


It's my husband's birthday and my parents have offered to babysit until late evening but he can't make up his mind what he wants to do, so I have no idea what we're doing. I thought maybe he wanted me to take him somewhere instead of feeling like he had to make plans himself, so I made numerous offers, but he has rejected every movie I've suggested, doesn't want to schlep anywhere downtown, and apparently wants to eat at the restaurant where we end up by default with the kids practically every weekend.

I cannot decide whether this signifies something good and comfortable or something slightly bored/apathetic/aggravated, so am choosing simply to ignore it till this evening. Maybe he just doesn't want to deal with entertainment on a work night, or maybe he figures we'll spend money this weekend when his parents will be watching our kids so his actual birthday doesn't matter. But the non-communication either way is somewhat annoying. In him it is nearly impossible sometimes to tell genuine lack of concern from passive aggressiveness, and I have zero tolerance for the latter, having gotten it from my mother all my life.

Gacked from among others:

— My journal is called "Your Cruise Director's Log" because way back in the day in Star Trek fandom, when I was in a group of online fans and everyone was claiming positions, I said that if I could have any job on a starship, I would want to be like Julie on The Love Boat, who was in charge of entertainment and making sure there was enough 'shippiness to go around.
— My subtitle is, um, I don't have one, because I have most of The Love Boat theme song on my page and figured enough was enough.
— My friends page is called "Love Boat Passengers" because, heh, keeping with the theme. I mean, my calendar is called "Itinerary" and my user info is called "Crew Manifest."
— And, just for the hell of it: My username is "cruisedirector" because Cruise Director was Julie's job title and "yourcruisedirector" did not meet LiveJournal's approval.

is about spring break. Once again I find that I have nothing to say. Maybe it's really over between me and Smallville, which would be sort of sad as it's right there on TV and free and no longer interfering with Enterprise even, but I am just not inspired. Who's got the S&H reruns?

I seem to be way behind on correspondence again. Had better go do something about that.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Poem for Tuesday

You Come To Me Quiet as Rain Not Yet Fallen
By Brian Patten

You come to me quiet as rain not yet fallen
Afraid of how you might fail yourself your
dress seven summers old is kept open
in memory of sex, smells warm, of boys,
and of the once long grass.
But we are colder now; we have not
Love’s first magic here. You come to me
Quiet as bulbs not yet broken
Out into sunlight.

The fear I see in your now lining face
Changes to puzzlement when my hands reach
For you as branches reach. Your dress
Does not fall easily, nor does your body
Sing of its own accord. What love added to
A common shape no longer seems a miracle.
You come to me with your age wrapped in excuses
And afraid of its silence.

Into the paradise our younger lives made of this bed and room
Has leaked the world and all its questioning
and now those shapes terrify us most
that remind us of our own. Easier now
to check longings and sentiment,
to pretend not to care overmuch,
you look out across the years, and you come to me
quiet as the last of our senses closing.


I discovered this poet because Paul Bettany mentioned in an interview that he's his favorite. Am now wildly in love with Paul Bettany over something other than his eyes, his voice and his more obvious assets.

Am rushing because and I are going to the movies and I desperately need to talk to first but I have to go shower. Hope everyone is having a good week. By definition this week had to be better than last week, and yesterday was very low-key, so am aiming for more of same!

Happy Birthday and ! And Happy Birthday LL, if you are reading this!

Monday, March 22, 2004

Poem for Monday

Le Pont Mirabeau
By Guillaume Apollinaire

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
          Et nos amours
     Faut-il qu'il m'en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine

     Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
     Les jours s'en vont je demeure

Les mains dans les mains restons face à face
          Tandis que sous
     Le pont de nos bras passe
Des éternels regards l'onde si lasse

     Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
     Les jours s'en vont je demeure

L'amour s'en va comme cette eau courante
          L'amour s'en va
     Comme la vie est lente
Et comme l'Espérance est violente

     Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
     Les jours s'en vont je demeure

Passent les jours et passent les semaines
          Ni temps passé
     Ni les amours reviennent
Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine

     Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
     Les jours s'en vont je demeure

Yes, more French poetry, because it's painfully lovely. Will try to find some comic French poetry that my humble translation skills can handle. In the meantime here's a hack job on this poem.

Mirabeau Bridge

Beneath Mirabeau Bridge the Seine flows
          And our loves
     Must I remember those
Joys which only arrived after woes

     The night arrives the hours wane
     The days go by I remain

Hand in clasped hand let us rest face to face
          While the bridge
     Of our hands holds in its embrace
The endless glance of this tired surging pace

     The night arrives the hours wane
     The days go by I remain

Love goes away like the water's flow
          Love goes away
     Slow as life is slow
And as violent as hope's crushing blow

     The night arrives the hours wane
     The days go by I remain

Another day becomes another week when
          Neither past time
     Nor past loves return again
Beneath Mirabeau Bridge flows the Seine

     The night arrives the hours wane
     The days go by I remain


Do I want to be the only writer on the site working seven days a week? No. It's already insane. It's too much of my life.

Am I ready to have absolutely no regular employment, to be freelancing with not one cent guaranteed at the end of a month? Not really, but there has to be a better way than committing to seven days.

I have to figure out what to tell them.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Sunday Photos

In Washington, DC, obviously. This was taken from the car near sunset -- the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.

We went downtown to the National Gallery of Art to see Verrocchio's David restored before it goes back to Florence, and we walked through the nearby French galleries and Cole's Voyage of Life before going out the back doors to the National Archives because we realized recently that we had never taken our kids there (and wanted them to see the Bill of Rights before John Ashcroft shits on it so much that it's unrecognizable).

The Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol Dome.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, with people flying kites in front.

Mercury Fountain, surrounded by azaleas,
National Gallery of Art
"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,"
National Archives

The front of the Archives, seen behind the sculpture garden near the ice skating rink. Visitors no longer enter up the main stairs but must go through security on the first floor.

The Declaration of Independence. This is the Declaration of Independence -- the original -- under about five panes of glass and a row of yellow lasers and who knows what other sorts of security. Naturally (and by law) this photo was taken without a flash.

The Jefferson Memorial, photo taken through the car window, shortly before sunset. I wasn't fast enough to get a good shot but Tom's statue could be seen clearly between the pillars.

And the light over the Potomac River seen from Virginia driving home.

Will get behind Duke and UConn for the Final Four. And I must root against Alabama, even versus Syracuse.

Poem for Sunday

The Taxi
By Amy Lowell

When I go away from you
The world beats dead
Like a slackened drum.
I call out for you against the jutted stars
And shout into the ridges of the wind.
Streets coming fast,
One after the other,
Wedge you away from me,
And the lamps of the city prick my eyes
So that I can no longer see your face.
Why should I leave you,
To wound myself upon the sharp edges of the night?


From Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch in this morning's Washington Post, a column that just makes me so happy, even given my heroine Margaret Anderson (of The Little Review)'s expressed contempt for the poet. "Amy Lowell's poetry has been underestimated for most of the past 75 years. It has been all too easily dismissed, sometimes insulted, often ignored. Lowell's name usually comes up in histories of modernism through a series of anecdotes; one hears of the obese, cigar-smoking Boston Brahmin; the literary impresario condescended to by Pound..." This is so true, even among a lot of contemporary women critics, the ones who've restored Anderson and Harriet Shaw Weaver to their proper places in the editing pantheon but continue to dismiss Lowell.

"As Lillian Faderman points out in a revealing essay in American Modern," writes Hirsch, "Lowell's lesbian love poems 'comprise one of the most detailed records in literature of an emotional and erotic relationship between two women.'" The poem above is one such example.

Also from today's Washington Post: Gene Weingarten, "Aisle Be Damned: Bush hates gay marriage. God knows why," which contains the following: "Proposed Amendment XXVIII: 'It shall be unlawful to use the U.S. Constitution as a plaything for the politically self-righteous. Violators should all go to Hell.'"

got me to take this again even though I have taken it before. Wish I remembered what some of these disorders were. Histrionic I readily own up to, and narcissistic to some extent, but I must be more dependent than schizotypal, and I know I am more obsessive-compulsive than either!


-- Personality Disorder Test - Take It! --

And that word count meme.

the216 this42 his22
and161 at39 because22
i160 but38 has22
to133 not33 had21
a123 me32 would21
my107 was31 will21
of99 current31 your20
in72 from29 mood20
that69 am29 come sail away20
for69 what29 very19
you64 which27 one19
on54 be27 about19
with53 are26 we18
it53 or26 last18
is52 so26 music18
have47 who23 if18
LJ Word Count (Beta!) by

And GIP! Eldarion! Because if you know who he is but you haven't managed to see the movie at this point, it is so not my problem.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Poem for Saturday

Demain, Dès L'Aube
By Victor Hugo

Demain, dès l'aube, à l'heure ou blanchit la campagne,
Je partirai. Vois-tu, je sais que tu m'attends.
J'irai par la foret, j'irai par la montagne.
Je ne puis demeurer loin de toi plus longtemps.

Je marcherai les yeux fixés sur mes pensées,
Sans rien voir au-dehors, sans entendre aucun bruit,
Seul, inconnu, le dos courbé, les mains croisées,
Triste, et le jour pour moi sera comme la nuit.

Je ne regarderai ni l'or du soir qui tombe,
Ni les voiles au loin descendant vers Harfleur,
Et, quand j'arriverai, je mettrai sur ta tombe
Un bouquet de houx vert et de bruyère en fleur.

My own fairly accurate but poetically unlovely translation:

Tomorrow At Dawn

Tomorrow, at the hour when dawn whitens the fields,
I shall take my leave. I can picture you waiting for me.
I will pass through the forest, I will pass over the hills.
I can no longer live so far from where you must be.

I will walk with my eyes fixed inward on my plight,
Seeing nothing outside, hearing not one single sound.
The day will fade for me into shades of night,
Alone, unknown, hands crossed, back bent over the ground.

I will gaze neither at the golden fall of eve,
Nor at the distant sails which descend about Harfleur,
And when I arrive, I will place on your grave
A bouquet of green holly and blossoming heather.


: "Kindred". Spoilers for H.M.S. Surprise. For the Ireland challenge but set in India.

One son has Hebrew school, the other has baseball practice this afternoon up in Germantown and then I think we're all going to Hidalgo afterward; at least, that's the plan as of now. It's a lovely day so my allergies are being annoying. But at least things are relatively quiet.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Poem for Friday and <a href

Flèche D'Or
By James Merrill

Windowglass, warmed plush, a sneeze
Deflected by the miracle
Into euphoria's
Authoritative gliding forth,
The riddle of the rails
Vitally unmoved in flight
However fast
I run racing that arrow
Lodged in my brain
Down the board platform beyond hurt or hope
Once more, once more
My life ended, having not,
Veils lifted, words from the page
Come to my senses
Eased of that last arrivederci deep
In book or view, my own
Fleet profile calmer catapulted due
North a pane floats off, desire sinks
Red upon that piercing stubble--"Traveler,
Turn back!" the tracks
Outcry, din flash fade, done,
Over forever, done I say, now yet
Might somebody
Seeing it all (for once not I or I)
Judge us wisely in whose heart of
Hearts the parallels
Meet and nothing lasts and nothing ends


Friday Five: If you...
1. ...owned a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve?

Seafood. With a lot of vegetarian/vegan selections for people who don't eat seafood. Also, we would have the best chocolate desserts in the region.
2. ...owned a small store, what kind of merchandise would you sell?
Books, jewelry, cards, candles, accessible art and crafts, amulets, crystals, homemade scarves, very selective music by local performers, shirts with slogans to empower women...New Age stuff.
3. ...wrote a book, what genre would it be?
Magical realism. But shelved under fiction, not sci-fi/fantasy.
4. ...ran a school, what would you teach?
Liberty and justice for all. Though personally I'd teach literature.
5. ...recorded an album, what kind of music would be on it?
Considering that I can't sing or play an instrument for shit, it would feature my favorite folk singers singing my favorite folk songs that they haven't recorded yet.

DePaul, where I did teach for two happy years, won in overtime! And UConn won which will make my in-laws happy. Sooner or later, all my teams in Maryland's quarter of the tournament are going to have to play each other, aren't they? Waah.

Off to catch up on my life.

Thursday, March 18, 2004


Have taken younger son to both the pediatrician and the opthalmologist. His neurological responses appear to be fine and his vision has mostly returned to normal -- had, in fact, mostly returned to normal before the opthalmologist examined him, but the pediatrician wanted the eye doctor to check him out anyway. They both said that his eye's inability to focus sounds like a migraine-related condition kids get sometimes from trauma, not always accompanied by headache; there's no evidence of hematoma, concussion or anything and they both said it would be quite unusual for anything like that to happen nearly a week after the initial injury, though he could have aggravated the injury somehow. At any rate his retina isn't detached and there aren't any blood clots besides the ones just below the surface of the skin that are making his forehead look rather terrifying.

Am breathing a huge sigh of relief though the pediatrician wants to see him again next week and the opthalmologist in two weeks. They're not ruling out a CAT scan. Thanks so much, everyone, for the vibes. Yesterday both of my kids had dentist appointments to have permanent teeth sealed and x-rays taken, and my younger son complained that he had to press his head against the machine that takes the panoramic x-rays, so I'm wondering whether stress or pressure or something aggravated his head injury.

Am too exhausted now to remember if there was anything else of importance to report. Instead, a gerbil picture, just to show everyone that Aragorn and Boromir still play together sometimes:

I wasn't home to see it and was too distracted to think about it, but my older son's fifth grade class apparently watched it in school, so, a little after the fact: Go Terps.

Poem for Thursday

The Tapeworm Foundry (an excerpt)
By Darren Wershler-Henry

insinuate that much can be learned from the fact that jackson pollock is known to
have held a job cleaning bird shit off of statues in the parks of new york state andor
floccinaucinihilipilificate andor shut up and die like an aviator andor do a thelma and
louise ending andor work out your own salvation with diligence andor begin to be
sure that if you could only go on long enough and talk and hear and look and see
and feel enough and long enough you could finally describe really describe every
kind of human being that ever was or is or would be living andor work not on the
spectacle of the end but on the end of the spectacle andor be okay with an umlaut
andor duplicate the eventual financial success of duddy kravitz by marketing diet
pills which contain nothing save for a tiny tapeworm andor refuse to go off into a
possible future but instead arrive out of that future so as to make the future present
in the arrival of your words andor see yourself as nothing more than a very simple
vicious circle andor write a book of portmanteaus about an embalmed irishman in
which the last sentence ending in midphrase loops back to link up with the first
sentence beginning in midphrase so that the book completes a cycle with itself
restarting with the words riverrun past eve and adams but leaving in their wake all
of the fragments of a language yet to be combined like so much flotsam and


My younger son cannot see at all through the eye that's beneath the bruise he got at school last week. This just started last night. The pediatrician and opthalmologist are both apparently too busy packing in patients to compensate for their lack of compensation from various people's fucking health insurance to have time to return my phone calls. I need to call one of them back and demand to know whether I should take him to the goddamn ER or whether it's just (just?) a detached retina and can wait till they deign to fit him in.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Poem for Wednesday

An Open Secret
By Tony Grist

God is that which turns us on.
Not a thing the Pope wants spoken.
Michelangelo’s risen Christ
Wears a loincloth on his orders.

Still the visions of the saints
Are laced with sexual jolliness.
Christian art is full of bodies
At full stretch, like St Teresa’s

In Bernini’s marble group,
Tumbling in her storm of clothing,
Going “Oh” as love’s young angel
Swings his dart and drives her loopy.


Mmmyeah. Am contemplating this morning the way good porn can be an end in itself, even if it is not good writing per se; how when someone hits you with the right phrase about the right person, it doesn't matter if it's not your usual thing, your usual character, your usual type, your usual fetish, and it doesn't matter if there are cliches or redundancies or stuff that's maybe not quite realistic. Really good porn can hit as hard as an orgasm (assuming you don't actually come from it, heh) and leave you just as contentedly relaxed. And sometimes, if you're writing it or betaing it, with a bizarre sense of accomplishment as well. At least, this happens to me. Does it happen to anyone else? *g*

While my mind is happily wallowing in the gutter, courtesy who manages to find the most wonderful obscure things like this, a comparative chart on men's anatomy and shoe size. In the case of my husband I believe it is pretty accurate -- unless I am misremembering his shoe size, which is possible -- but am slightly worried about what it means if Yao Ming wears a size 18 US, while Shaquille O'Neal wears a size 22. Ouch.

Everyone probably saw this somewhere last night but the possibility of Sean Bean in Barry, with slashtastic factor through the roof, also makes me very happy.

Wish I had something exciting to report since yesterday but my sister and brood are going back to New York (where apparently they had snow in their absence), my older son very much enjoyed the meetings at the magnet middle school and is now looking forward to going there despite having to get on a bus at 6:30 a.m., my younger son gets to play "Ode to Joy" (at least, the melody line) on the violin after his next lesson, and things are relatively quiet, which is good. Today both kids have orthodontist appointments, though, so I may be freaking out about braces and money later.

I don't have a thing to say at the moment about Smallville and the Seven Deadly Sins for , either, but that could change too.

Happy Birthday and ! Z, I have fic in the works for you but it is going very sloooowly and I think I need to demand assistance from my usual Bad Influence collaborator. Do you mind a late gift? And Happy St. Patrick's Day, anyone indulging in revelry, whether because of Irish ancestry or not. Somewhere upstairs I have a shamrock with a Star of David set into it that I should go put on...

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Poem for Tuesday and <lj comm

From Julius Caesar Act III Scene II
By William Shakespeare

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious;
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest,—
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men,—
Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept;
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

But yesterday the word of Caesar might
Have stood against the world; now lies he there,
And none so poor to do him reverence.
O masters! if I were dispos’d to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,
Who, you all know, are honourable men.
I will not do them wrong; I rather choose
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself, and you,
Than I will wrong such honourable men.
But here’s a parchment with the seal of Caesar;
I found it in his closet, ’tis his will.
Let but the commons hear this testament—
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read—
And they would go and kiss dead Caesar’s wounds,
And dip their napkins in his sacred blood,
Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,
Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
Unto their issue.

It is not meet you know how Caesar lov’d you.
You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
And, being men, hearing the will of Caesar,
It will inflame you, it will make you mad.
’Tis good you know not that you are his heirs;
For if you should, O! what would come of it.

Will you be patient? Will you stay awhile?
I have o’ershot myself to tell you of it.
I fear I wrong the honourable men
Whose daggers have stabb’d Caesar; I do fear it.

You will compel me then to read the will?
Then make a ring about the corpse of Caesar,
And let me show you him that made the will.
Shall I descend? and will you give me leave?

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle: I remember
The first time ever Caesar put it on;
’Twas on a summer’s evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii. 152
Look! in this place ran Cassius’ dagger through:
See what a rent the envious Casca made:
Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb’d;
And, as he pluck’d his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Caesar follow’d it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolv’d
If Brutus so unkindly knock’d or no;
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar’s angel:
Judge, O you gods! how dearly Caesar lov’d him.
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms,
Quite vanquish’d him: then burst his mighty heart;
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey’s statua,
Which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell.
O! what a fall was there, my countrymen;
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish’d over us.
O! now you weep, and I perceive you feel
The dint of pity; these are gracious drops.
Kind souls; what! weep you when you but behold
Our Caesar’s vesture wounded? Look you here,
Here is himself, marr’d, as you see, with traitors.

Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honourable:
What private griefs they have, alas! I know not,
That made them do it; they are wise and honourable,
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts:
I am no orator, as Brutus is;
But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
That love my friend; and that they know full well
That gave me public leave to speak of him.
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men’s blood: I only speak right on;
I tell you that which you yourselves do know,
Show you sweet Caesar’s wounds, poor poor dumb mouths,
And bid them speak for me: but were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue
In every wound of Caesar, that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.


I was so sure that someone would post this yesterday that I didn't even bother. Here is the play at Bartleby, but late for the Ides of March.

: "Exile", for the Ireland challenge.

Spent most of yesterday afternoon with my sister and nieces. First the kids were at my house, then they were at my parents' along with more family friends, then four of the kids were back here because my father really wasn't feeling well and with seven kids in that house it was much too loud. The girls went back to my mother's for dinner and we ate at home.

Tonight there is a meeting at the magnet middle school for all the kids accepted into the program so I am hoping my son loves everything about it, as the neighborhood middle school is walking distance from our house and he was already favorably impressed on a visit there.

Re: that meme where you pick an interest from my interest list that you either don't know anything about or can't understand why I would like it: ask, and I will tell you about it, but feel free to do that any time, not just when there's a meme.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Poem for Monday

By D.H. Lawrence

Are you willing to be sponged out,
erased, cancelled,
made nothing?
Are you willing to be made nothing?
dipped into oblivion?

If not, you will never really change.

The phoenix renews her youth
only when she is burnt,
burnt alive, burnt down
to hot and flocculent ash.
Then the small stirring of a new small bub in the nest
with strands of down like floating ash
shows that she is renewing her youth like the eagle,
immortal bird.


Five children in one house makes for a very, very loud situation. And of course my mother had to invite her friends and their six-month-old grandson over too, because having a child who's too young to get out of the way makes things so much simpler. My father (who has diverticulitis, and has been miserable, and would probably have hidden in his room if he could have) put on the NCAA selection program and I tried to watch it while eating and supervising various children, but other than figuring out that Maryland, UConn and DePaul are all in the same quarter of the tournament with Stanford, I'm not quite sure who else is where. At least most of my friends will be rooting for someone other than the top seed there. It's Penn's women, not the men, who are at the dance so Puck Frinceton indeed.

My editor is BACK. *does happy dance* Now, if only he STAYS back, maybe I can actually get some writing done! Have put aside half-sketched fic because someone else is writing something very similar, though am contemplating switching it to another fandom entirely because I utterly love one line. But my favorite crossover joke gets lost if I do that.

GIP that I have meant to make for ages. I think I posted a link to the artwork more than a year ago and now I can't find the artist's name anywhere! *sobs* Will keep looking. ETA: "The Sun Sets Sail" by Rob Gonsalves.

Gacked, like so many good things, from , who is either my sister or my wife!

My very British name is Chelsea Chamberlain.
Take The Very British Name Generator today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator.

My crappy little elf name is Shetland Horsebeard.
What's yours?
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Sunday, March 14, 2004

A Long-Overdue Squirrel Story!

"Permission to come aboard?" Stephen asked Jack, climbing up the side of the deck.

Jack agreed, but was a bit taken aback when Stephen made himself at home, unaware of the inviolable sanctity of the captain on the quarterdeck. First Stephen sat and ate, messily...

...and then he climbed all over the ship's slightly dirty but essential equipment.

Finally Jack could stand it no longer. He chased Stephen off the equipment!

But Stephen refused to go without a fight, having spotted a rare beetle that he was intent on catching!

"How could you do this to me?" Stephen asked. But Jack, perched high on the rigging, would not budge.

So Stephen dove right off the deck, even though Jack watched him sadly as he left.

Stephen went off into the jungle where he could investigate whatever he wanted undisturbed...

...but it wasn't long before Jack dove overboard and went chasing after him.
And they lived happily ever after.
The end.

A side note: The University of Maryland mascot -- a diamondback terrapin, visible in caricature in my GIP below -- is named Testudo. I know M&C fans will understand why this makes me snicker!


This post is for the benefit of in particular. *big smooches, condolences and see you in the big show*

Back from Mitzvah Day at the Abram Simon school, which I hadn't realized was a block down from the high school in DC where there have been all the shootings we've been watching on the news. It was a bit chaotic but the kids (ours, the ones from our synagogue and the students and families from the school) had a really good time. So many people came that they ran out of food and had to order more. We were mostly in the arts and crafts rooms, decorating bags and boxes and stuff -- my kids can draw monsters on fabric for hours -- but we also got to see a breakdancing demonstration and some cheerleader-type dancing.

In a few minutes we are picking up the kids from a friend's house and going to my parents', where my sister is visiting with her three girls. Everyone is sure to be in a good mood about the Maryland game, except perhaps my sister who is waiting to see the outcome of the Wisconsin game that's on now. I have conflicting information on whether Penn or Princeton won the Ivy title...ESPN said Penn, the paper says Princeton. So I may be even happier or slightly grumpier later.

ETA: Have just learned that was deprived of watching the final minutes of overtime because her local station switched games! Must apologize for taunting.

Poem for Sunday

After the Dinner Party
By Robert Penn Warren

You two sit at the table late, each, now and then,
Twirling a near-empty wine glass to watch the last red
Liquid climb up the crystalline spin to the last moment when
Centrifugality fails: with nothing now said.

What is left to say when the last logs sag and wink?
The dark outside is streaked with the casual snowflake
Of winter's demise, all guests long gone home, and you think
Of others who never again can come to partake

Of food, wine, laughter, and philosophy --
Though tonight one guest has quoted a killing phrase we owe
To a lost one whose grin, in eternal atrophy,
Now in dark celebrates some last unworded jest none can know.

Now a chair scrapes, sudden, on tiles, and one of you
Moves soundless, as in hypnotic certainty,
The length of table. Stands there a moment or two,
Then sits, reaches out a hand, open and empty.

How long it seems till a hand finds that hand there laid,
While ash, still glowing, crumbles, and silence is such
That the crumbling of ash is audibile. Now naught's left unsaid
Of the old heart-concerns, the last, tonight, which

Had been of the absent children, whose bright gaze
Over-arches the future's horizon, in the mist of your prayers.
The last log is black, while ash beneath displays
No last glow. You snuff candles. Soon the old stairs

Will creak with your grave and synchronized tread as each mounts
To a briefness of light, then true weight of darkness, and then
That heart-dimness in which neither joy nor sorrow counts.
Even so, one hand gropes out for another, again.


From Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch in today's Washington Post Book World: "Robert Penn Warren's late poetry is, to my mind, his most enduring work. It has great spiritual earnestness, deep tragic grandeur and joy." Hirsch called "After the Dinner Party" Warren's "most tender poem of old age."

Am posting very early (i.e., late the night before) because we will be out all morning for Mitzvah Day at our synagogue, which in our case will mean volunteering at a local school for disadvantaged children. My sister is coming into town with her three girls so we will undoubtedly be tied up visiting with them, too. And Maryland won, meaning that we will all be gathered around the TV to see whether they can beat Duke for the ACC title...unlikely, but at least the Terps will likely get a good tournament draw now.

Had in-laws here today; ate a lot, did some hiking, played with the kids, watched the Maryland and Connecticut games which both ended favorably. Spent a quiet evening looking at this screen and finished all three articles for which I am responsible tomorrow since I won't be here most of the day to work on them.

This is not really true but what the heck:

Which 1990's Subculture Do You Belong To?

[Another Quiz by Kris @]

And this is UTTERLY not true! Gacked from who is apparently a bigger threat than I am; I think her results apply better to me than this one! Must work on becoming a much better threat.

I Am An Atheist
Threat rating: extremely low. You may think you can
subvert the government, but if you should try
you will be smited mightily because God likes us best.
What threat to the Bush administration are you?
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