Sunday, April 30, 2006

Poem for Sunday

Weather Report
By Tess Gallagher

The Romanian poets
under Ceausescu, Liliana
said, would codify opposition

to the despots in this manner: because
there was no gas and they were cold, everyone
was cold, all they had to do was write

how cold it is . . . so cold . . . and their
readers knew exactly what was meant.
No one had to go to jail
for that.

Liliana, in the dead of night
writing her poems
with gloves on.

I think I'll take off my gloves.
It's freezing in here.
There's a glacier pressing on my heart.


"Here is a poem from Tess Gallagher's rich, striking, new collection Dear Ghosts,," writes Robert Pinsky in Poet's Choice in today's Washington Post Book World. He wonders if "the myth of apolitical American writing is part of the Cold War heritage." Of Gallagher's new book, he observes, "The comma in her title emphasizes how elegiac the book is, addressed to ghosts of various kinds and degrees of intimacy. The figure of the Eastern European writer resisting and surviving under the old communist empire is a kind of ghost: still haunting and urgent or emblematic for the West. Like traditional ghost stories, maybe this persistent specter of Soviet oppression expresses semi-conscious fears about our own proclivities...the half-legendary life of poetry in the Soviet years gives Gallagher a way to convey her political meaning in her poem."

Obviously I was too tired early Saturday morning to post except in the most superficial manner. *g* A more complete description of my Friday: After getting younger son to school, I went to get and her hubby in Takoma Park, which took somewhat longer than expected due to unexpected lane closings. We stopped to buy bottled water and went to Great Falls, which was gorgeous as always though overrun by buses of students on field took us awhile to get out to the island as we were avoiding being stampeded by hundreds of elementary school students. But once we finally got out there, we had the overlook pretty much all to ourselves. There were herons fishing in the river, which was very high because of the rain we had last week, and a big snake and salamanders in the bedrock terrace forest, likely also pleased about the rain. (And there were the usual geese and turtles in the canal.) They suggested that on a future trip to England we should travel on a canal boat which sounds like a great idea to me.

We had Middle Eastern food for lunch because good hummus is always a good thing, then came back here where I gave them the grand tour (such as it is -- they were polite about the mess in the basement and did not laugh too hard about 's CD collection), watched The Sentinel blooper reel which sent me once upon a time (and for which we all heartily thank her, again), and waited for my family to get home so we could go downtown. We had fairly good Thai food -- the salmon and panang were good, at least -- near the Tower Records at GWU and walked to Lisner, which had a packed-to-the-gills crowd. I know I said I'd try to name the set list but I can't remember! They did "Donkey Riding" very early on which made my kids very happy as it's their favorite GBS song (well, besides "Recruiting Sergeant" which is one of those songs that gets stuck in your head, but they didn't do that one). I know they did (in no particular order here) "The Mermaid" (which my kids loved as they had not seemed to pick up on what a dirty song it was before), "Graceful & Charming" (the forget-me-not song), "Ordinary Day", "Sea of No Cares" (the number one song in Canada once for seven hours), "General Taylor", "The River Driver", "Captain Kidd", "The Night Pat Murphy Died", "Old Polina" (with which they closed the first set), "Old Brown's Daughter" (a cappella, the second encore), "When I'm Up", "Scolding Wife", "Come and I Will Sing You"...I can't even remember what else. Most of my favorites. They promised at one point to play till next Wednesday, as they were doing long intros to some of the songs, probably because they were filming (I hope that's for public television or something!)

Saturday was a much more difficult day. Thanks everyone for the condolences. Younger son discovered when he woke up in the morning that the gerbil was not breathing. Son was lying on the floor curled up in his afghan when we got downstairs, but only had one crying fit and during the gerbil funeral both kids were more focused on doing it exactly the same way we did the last one (same brand of tea whose box we buried the gerbil in, even). We had to dig up a small tulip tree that was growing too close to the wall, in part so we could put the gerbils next to each other and in part because those trees grow roots that wreak havoc on brick, so just after burying Boromir we took the tree into the woods in the common area behind the houses to replant it. Boromir had seemed pretty geriatric even before Aragorn died...he was the one we had briefly discussed taking to the vet a month and a half ago, in fact, since Aragorn was quite active until the very end while Boromir's nest-building output had been reduced of late.

The kids seemed more easily distracted than after Aragorn died. Younger son had a soccer game in the middle of the day, so although we had wanted to go to Maryland Day at the University of Maryland and see all the science demonstrations like we usually do, there was really no way to get to the ones we wanted around the sports schedule. So we all went to soccer including my father (they lost 2-0 and were dispirited), then we went to Target to buy shorts for older son who had outgrown all of his over the winter. And since we were near the lake with the geese and it was an utterly gorgeous 65-degree day, we took a walk around it and saw waterfowl and paddleboaters and a wedding. When we had cleaned the kitchen counter while cleaning up after the gerbil, we found a big plastic cup full of quarters that we had forgotten all about, and when we put it with the rest of the loose change in various containers in the kitchen it ended up being a decent amount of money, so we let the kids get some Shadow the Hedgehog video game with which they distracted themselves in the afternoon while I wrote two quick articles (Patrick Stewart getting rave reviews in Antony and Cleopatra, Richard Herd griping about various aspects of the motion picture industry). We were supposed to go out to dinner with my parents, but my father had a tantrum over something trivial, so we went only with my mother who took us out for very good Greek food.

In the evening, I put on Brideshead Revisited, which I saw most of at some point in my distant youth but my uncle has been telling me that I really must watch, and I discovered that I remembered almost none of it...or actually, what I did remember I was mixing up with Maurice because they're practically the same gay university story except Charles and Sebastian are supposed to be heterosexual, I think, which is very, very hard to tell given all of Charles' musings about how he was ready for love and they spent many hours in debauchery and I can't even remember all the other lines where either or I shrieked -- he started chuckling when Charles said he could never give up his rooms because he liked to look out the window at the flowers and basically never stopped. But having been to both Oxford and Castle Howard, what an absolute delight to watch! And there are like ten more hours of it! I hope I continue to enjoy it this much because the war story didn't grab me until the flashbacks started.

We also watched Saturday Night Live, the animated edition, which was worth it just for the Song of the South clip and stills from the original uncut Fantasia, the Osama-and-Saddam utter political incorrectness and Jesus Christ doing the Charlie Brown dance after zapping various televangelists. (I am sorry to report that despite numerous cracks at Jews, Muslims and Christians, there was not nearly the skewering of Scientologists for which I had hoped.) The other entertainment news that alternately makes me laugh, cry and scream is the report, originally from Variety (which apparently screwed up the Star Trek news enough that who knows if they should be trusted) that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt may star in Atlas Shrugged. I don't know whether to ...well, laugh, cry or scream.

A snake in the wetlands on Olmsted Island at Great Falls on Friday.

A great blue heron about to fish in the Potomac River.

A Canadian goose swims beside the biggest koi I have ever seen.

My son pointed out that this is likely one of the apparently mixed-breed goslings from last spring (and one of the good geese).

I still want to write something about Doctor Who but it is very late and we are going Sunday to Baltimore for the Volvo Ocean Race ships' visit to the Inner Harbor for the Baltimore Waterfront Festival -- and we also want to see the Wright Brothers exhibit before it leaves the Maryland Science Center. So it must wait till late tomorrow I suspect.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

RIP Boromir

Boromir 2003-2006

Lyrics for Saturday

The Night Pat Murphy Died
Traditional, Arranged by Alan Doyle & Séan McCann

Oh, the night that Paddy Murphy died is a night I'll never forget,
Some of the boys got loaded drunk and they ain't got sober yet!
As long as a bottle was passed around every man was feeling gay,
O'Leary came with the bagpipes some music for to play!

That's how they showed their respect for Paddy Murphy,
That's how they showed their honour and their pride,
They said it was, "a sin" and "a shame" they winked at one and another,
And every drink in the place was full the night Pat Murphy died!

As Missus Murphy sat in the corner pourin' out her grief,
Kelly and his gang came tearin' down the street,
They went into an empty room and a bottle of whiskey stole,
They put that bottle with the corpse to keep that whiskey cold!

That's how they showed their respect for Paddy Murphy,
That's how they showed their honour and their pride,
They said it was, "a sin" and "a shame" they winked at one and another,
And every drink in the place was full the night Pat Murphy died!

Well, two o'clock in the mornin' after emptyin' the jug,
Doyle rose up the icebox lid to see poor Paddy's mug,
They stopped the clock so Missus Murphy couldn't tell the time,
And at a quarter after two we argued it was nine!

That's how they show their respect for Paddy Murphy,
That's how we show our honour and our pride,
They said it was, "a sin" and "a shame" they winked at one and another,
And every drink in the place was full the night Pat Murphy died!

Well, they stopped the hearse on George Street outside some damn saloon,
They all went in at half past eight and staggered out at noon,
The went up to the graveyard so holy and sublime,
Found out when they'd got there they'd left the corpse behind!

That's how they showed their respect for Paddy Murphy,
That's how they showed their honour and their pride,
They said it was, "a sin" and "a shame" we winked at one and another,
And every drink in the place was full the night Pat Murphy died!

Oh, the night that Paddy Murphy died is a night I'll never forget,
Some of the boys got loaded drunk and they ain't been sober yet!
As long as a bottle was passed around every man was feeling gay,
O'Leary came with bagpipes some music for to play!

That's how they showed their respect for Paddy Murphy,
That's how they showed their honour and their pride,
They said it was, "a sin" and "a shame" we winked at one and another,
And every drink in the place was full the night Pat Murphy died!
Well, every drink in the place was full the night Pat Murphy died!


Have had an utterly lovely Friday with and her husband, at Great Falls where we saw snakes and salamanders and herons and buzzards, then at Lebanese Taverna for lunch, then home to get the kids and , then out for Thai food for dinner downtown and then to see Great Big Sea. They were fantastic -- the Lisner Auditorium acoustics are pretty poor but it really made very little difference, the sellout crowd was on its feet for nearly the entire concert, they got everyone singing along during the second set by playing a medley of 80s songs and not singing themselves ("Summer of '69", "Jesse's Girl", "Sweet Dreams") as the audience proved they knew all the lyrics, they were being filmed for something and the lights were on the crowd rather than the band on numerous occasions, I discovered that my younger son (who stood on his seat and danced through every song) knows all the words to "When I'm Up (I Can't Get Down)", "Sea of No Cares" and "Ordinary Day" as well as "Donkey Riding", "General Taylor", the one above and the ones I knew he knew.

Now I'm home and have just watched Doctor Who's shattering "Father's Day", one of the best hours of sci-fi TV I have ever seen, which despite being predictable -- it follows horror conventions from "The Monkey's Paw" through Final Destination -- is utterly devastating and I will have to write about it when I am more awake. This show is just SO good, and I had thought it was just good crack the first couple of weeks.

Great Big Sea at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium. Those people standing in the foreground are wearing "Hard" and "Easy" t-shirts and, as you can see, did not sit all show, even during the band intros.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Poem for Friday

Essay on the Personal
By Stephen Dunn

Because finally the personal
is all that matters,
we spend years describing stones,
chairs, abandoned farmhouses--
until we're ready. Always
it's a matter of precision,
what it feels like
to kiss someone or to walk
out the door. How good it was
to practice on stones
which were things we could love
without weeping over. How good
someone else abandoned the farmhouse,
bankrupt and desperate.
Now we can bring a fine edge
to our parents. We can hold hurt
up to the sun for examination.
But just when we think we have it,
the personal goes the way of
belief. What seemed so deep
begins to seem naive, something
that could be trusted
because we hadn't read Plato
or held two contradictory ideas
or women in the same day.
Love, then, becomes an old movie.
Loss seems so common
it belongs to the air,
to breath itself, anyone's.
We're left with style, a particular
way of standing and saying,
the idiosyncratic look
at the frown which means nothing
until we say it does. Years later,
long after we believed it peculiar
to ourselves, we return to love.
We return to everything
strange, inchoate, like living
with someone, like living alone,
settling for the partial, the almost
satisfactory sense of it.


Thursday morning I wrote up a George Takei interview (gotta love a man who thanks Star Trek for giving him a microphone and then uses it to fight for equal rights) and reviewed "The Immunity Syndrome" a day early since I'm going to be out most of tomorrow with and her hubby. (Since tomorrow arrives in Europe earlier than here, I was able to post it at 7 p.m. Thursday and have it show up with Friday's date!) I also had to run out to the mall for a book for my son and discovered The Disappearing Civil Liberties Mug; I have already bought one for for Father's Day (don't tell him) but it was the last one in the store and I need to track down more to give as gifts because this rocks!

Then, in the late afternoon while younger son was at soccer practice, I drove myself crazy looking for my missing US National Parks pass, which I will need to take to Great Falls. The whole family spent two hours going through every pile of papers in and around every desk and table in the house, plus between the pages of books on parks in the basement and in obscure places like beneath computer monitors and in the laundry. Tonight decided to test the new portable DVD player we had bought for our long driving trip this summer, which required that we lift the collapsible table between the front seats in the van that we never lift, and he asked me to get in the back to see how the screen looked from older son's usual seat. Lo and behold, there was the park pass.

At night we watched Smallville, which like last week I found bad but entertaining. Clark saves the life of a mysterious stranger, for which good deed he nearly gets killed! It gets kind of boring how every single person who shows up on this show with superpowers ends up being a villain...well, except Aquaman who's only a conscientious criminal, but he's getting his own show so he doesn't count anyway. What's more fun is Clark trying to figure out Graham's angle. And how he assumes Lionel or Lex must have sent the lovely home theater system that Graham buys as a thanks-for-saving-my-life present! ("Lex? Why would he send me a home theater system?" "He has been known to try to win you over with expensive toys," Chloe points out, and then Clark remembers that Lex wanted to try to find common ground and goes to talk to him, not realizing the "common ground" is Lana's you-know-what, which is what Lex settles for these days since he can't have Clark.) It's never entirely clear whether Graham caught on to the fact that Clark was special right from the start or didn't cop to it until he saw Clark break metal in his apartment. As Lois says, "Mr 'I Can't Take Candy From Strangers' took it all back this morning.

Graham's head-hunter cover makes for some amusing jokes -- "I made a killing the other day and it's all thanks to Clark Kent!" Maybe Clark should hire him to find Professor Fine. But wait, Graham is a bad guy -- Chloe's internet reports say so! And Graham says stuff like, "You think using your power to be a hero's a rush? You should try using it to kill." Ooh, he's Voldemort! Who might be Martha's type, as she confesses to Lois that before her Jonathan Kent days, she used to date dark, mysterious types too -- which of course means that LIONEL is her type! Amazing how these days I am shipping Martha/Lionel even in episodes in which the latter does not appear. Chloe babbles some sappy stuff to Clark about how it's not easy to see the person you love in the arms of someone else, with Clark as usual not realizing Chloe is talking about herself with him rather than him with Lana who has given up the pink lipstick now that she's Lex's girl. This alone is a reason for rooting for Lex and Lana to stay together. "I know you think you're being some kind of hero, Clark, but the truth is I don't need you to protect me," she snarks at him. If only it were true. Sigh.

After Smallville and getting the kids to bed, it was time for tea
and Commander in Chief, which didn't manage to hold my interest even though it had a storyline set in the next county over from me, where the murder rate really is appalling. Too much going on, too much just-plain-inanity, a nice storyline about the in-the-closet gay aide ruined by the can't-act press secretary, more cast shuffles -- in a couple of months, the country loses a president and TWO vice presidents? -- and the First Man's speech to the First Son about respecting himself more than having sex with groupies was absolutely painful. I'm not even going to miss this show when ABC cancels it, and it is so sad, because I want to see Geena Davis kicking ass as the president every week. I'm just not seeing it here. Ah well, so my Thursday night shows go; neither will win Emmys. And now I must go to bed so I can get up, get the kids out and see !

More information about the National Capitol Columns is here.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Poem for Thursday

By Czeslaw Milosz

A tall building. The walls crept upward in the dark,
Above the rustle of maple leaves, above hurrying feet.
A tall building, dawning with its lights above the square.
Inside hissing softly in the predawn hours,
The elevator moved between the floors. The cables twanged.
A rooster's cry rang in the pipes and gutters
Till a shiver ran through the house. Those awakened heard
This singing in the walls, terrible as the earth's happiness.

Already the screech of a tram. And day. And smoke again.
Oh, the day is dark. Above us, who are shut
High up in our rooms, flocks of birds
Fly by in a whir of flickering wings.
Not enough. One life is not enough.
I'd like to live twice on this sad planet,
In lonely cities, in starved villages,
To look at all evil, at the decay of bodies,
And probe the laws to which the time was subject,
Time that howled above us like a wind.

In the courtyard of the apartment house street musicians
Croon in chorus. The hands of listeners shine at the windows.
She gets up from her rumpled sheets.
In her dreams she thought of dresses and travel.
She walks up to the black mirror. Youth didn't last long.
Nobody knew that work would divide a day
Into great toil and dead rest,
And that the moon would pause every spring
Above the sleep of the weary ones. In our hearts' heavy beating
No spring for us anymore, nor love.

To cover up one's thighs. Let them not,
With their lacing of thin purple veins, remember
This child rushing down the staircase,
This child running down the gray sidewalk.
Laughter can still be heard in the distance --
Anew, everything the child will discover anew
And down an immense, empty, frosty road
Through a space ringing with the thunder of the pulse
Her child will go. And time will howl.
Standing naked in front of her mirror, the woman
Lightly wipes away two tears with her kerchief
And darkens her eyebrows with henna.

Wilno, 1932


My head is still unhappy about the pollen count; I thought yesterday that maybe it was affected by the weather fronts coming through, but there's been pressure around my eyes all Wednesday. Excedrin saved most of it for me, and made me bouncy and happy for a few hours too; , with whom I had lunch, probably thinks I was on speed or something as I was all hyper. And I took a walk around the lake before she got there, was gorgeous and not too hot, and there were geese and ducks though no goslings or ducklings, and there were azaleas and tulips and it was very pretty.

Trek news today was J.J. Abrams being irritable and saying maybe he wasn't going to direct Trek XI after all, and Jeri Ryan on the Boston Legal season finale with William Shatner, which may be entirely too much fun! Man, I hope they make out! Alan will forgive Denny and the idea of Kirk passing up an opportunity to get it on with Seven of Nine, even in an alternate universe, is just inconceivable. We all watched "The Immunity Syndrome" because I need to review Thursday instead of Friday, as I am planning to spend all day Friday with before going to see Great Big Sea with of McCoy's finer episodes, and both the Kirk/Spock and Spock/McCoy interaction is delightful. "Shut up, Spock! We're rescuing you!"

! Thank you so much for my present! You know I collect these and this one has been on my list for a long time? I hope you are back on this coast before we make it out your way, because that may be awhile. My younger monster sends regards to your older one!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Poem for Wednesday

Six Kinds of Noodles
By Stephen Burt

You would have to have been reading John Ashbery
to have seen anything like this in a book,
and yet here it is in real life:
an almost already intelligible tangle
of verities, and an intimidating menu,
disfigured, almost, by all the things you can have

at once, though all are noodles. Have
you, too, been trying to keep up with John Ashbery?
Every time I check there's another new book,
another entry—entrée—on the menu
from which I seem to have ordered my whole life,
and been served somebody else's. Don't tangle

with waiters here is my advice; the rectangle
of mirrorlike soy sauce, the soba you have to have
and the udon you lack should suffice: the secret of life—
as you might have sought, or discovered, in Ashbery—
is what you get while you are waiting. Men, you
see, are mortal, and live to end up in a book,

though once you compiled and published such a book,
who would be left to read it? The latest angle
claims that it would be more like a menu,
an ashen, Borgesian checklist of all you could have
or have had to pay for, or suffer, or notice. Ashbery
could write that (I think it's in Flow Chart). And yet the life

we long for in all its disorder is not a life
of so many tastes, nor of fame; more like one good book,
and ginger with which to enjoy it. Jeffrey Skinner's poem entitled "John Ashbery"
and David Kellogg's "Being John Ashbery" both take the angle
that eminence is what matters. No. We have
had enough of fighting over the menu,

as if it were the main course; the omen you
seek, the bitter-lime tang of a happy life
to come, curls up amid the semolina or buckwheat you have
not chosen yet. Will it be prepared by the book?
Will it do for Kitchen Stadium? Its newfangle-
ness may be a virtue, Iron Chef Chen Kenichi, Auden, and Ashbery

all suggest, though hard to find here without help from Ashbery:
it's a problem with which I have tangled all my life,
and I'm so hungry I could eat a book, though none are listed on this menu.


From Jennifer Grotz's review of Burt's Parallel Play in The Washington Post Book World the Sunday before last (article here). "In developmental psychology, the term 'parallel play' describes how very young children will play next to each other yet not together. It's an apt title for Stephen Burt's second collection of poems: Many of his subjects seem to know that they belong to a community but feel utterly separate within it," Grotz writes. "One of the recurring surprises in Parallel Play is the breadth of Burt's fascination with contemporary gleans an earnest desire to make poems out of the flotsam and jetsam of American life." Burt writes about Senator Paul Wellstone, Kitty Pryde, WNBA player Lindsay Whalen; another is titled "Scenes from Next Week's Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Grotz calls the poem above "an irresistible sestina that meditates on the work of John Ashbery and the function of contemporary poetry in the backdrop of an Asian noodle shop."

The pollen and the front coming through have conspired to give me a nasty headache so I am having trouble concentrating tonight (the drugs are staving off the headache but have me sort of blurry). I managed to do some serious desk cleanup, sort old bills, write news bullets and an article on Chase Masterson's upcoming sci-fi noir film, get the kids from the bus stop home and then to Hebrew school, and have a very strange conversation with a woman from WGBH, the Boston PBS station, which somehow had my name and number in their database as someone who did voiceover work because I once did a stint for a BBC film crew who tracked me down at for a special on supernatural events in Washington, DC, Conspiracies: Hidden Places -- I thought, and they thought at the time, that they wanted an expert on The X-Files and sites from the series, though the documentary ended up being more about the Masons and supernatural American history and I was only in it for a couple of minutes. The woman at WGBH was looking for voiceover work for some PBS documentaries, though given my limited experience, I don't think she'll be calling me very soon!

Boston Legal was even more crack than usual this week, but Alan called Denny his lover to a woman he was hitting on -- well, to assist on a case -- so how could I not love it? And really, who could not love any hour of television which starts with William Shatner's psychiatrist calling him a silver spoon-fed sack who should take up yoga so he can learn to stick his head up his ass while Shatner is going on about how everything he wants to express in life is bottled up in him like a kidney stone? Denny agrees that he is a sad sack and admits he's thought about killing himself, even carries a gun in case he decides to do it, but it would be so banal. Fine, says the therapist, Sidney Field...shoot me, then I get to die and my son gets to pay for his Harvard education with my insurance policy that precludes suicide. Then he pulls a gun on Denny, and Denny shoots him in self-defense! Which could get him fired because there's a clause in the partnership agreement (as Paul explains to Shirley) that says Denny is out if he commits a felony, which is what he's charged with, and who's going to believe the guy who shot a homeless man with a paintball gun and his own client in the kneecaps? Denny of course defends his carrying and using a gun, explaining that he has a constitutional right to bear arms that the Supreme Court will reaffirm as soon as they finish overturning Roe v Wade.

Meanwhile, Alan is busy with a case where a black man was arrested for refusing to identify himself while gawking at expensive houses in a white neighborhood. He gets an old friend, Shalina, to help him with the defense, partly because she's black and partly because he thinks she can appeal to the jury's idealism even though the man is guilty of a crime under the current laws that say the police can demand identification from anyone for any reason, whether it's looking like a terrorist because you sort of appear Middle Eastern or "driving while black" in L.A. Shalina keeps reminding Alan that they kissed the last time they worked together, which makes Melissa jealous -- she warns Alan that she's putting the sex they have not yet had in jeopardy ("Don't fall for her, Alan, she's just a guest star"). But Alan is too distracted worrying about Denny to fret overmuch about the sex he's not having with anyone but "my lover," as he describes Denny to Shalina. Denny visits the doctor in the hospital with Alan to try to get the charges dropped -- only to find Sidney reading an issue of Trout with the plight of the Pacific salmon on the cover -- but the charges stick. And they get stuck with the poopycock judge who hates jibber-jabber and thinks Alan talks too much.

Shalina gets the black guy off by reciting Martin Luther King, Jr., hoping that the jury will judge her client as the police should have, not by the color of his skin but by the content of his's a great moment, an Alan moment, as she repeats the prosecutor's words about how some profiling is necessary to make people feel safe, how there's no longer stigma in discriminating. Alan is very concerned that he won't be able to do the same for Denny, given Denny's history of shooting people -- not a big leap for a jury to think he plugged his therapist. Denny talks about how we're so desensitized to guns, "I laughed when I heard the Vice President mistook his friend for a bird." Alan says he was he only one. To think that for five minutes Denny swears off guns forever...he almost killed Sidney, after all, and Sidney was a Republican! But Sidney is really nuts and pulls a gun in the courtroom...and Denny shoots him again, thus saving the judge, who agrees to let Denny go with a warning in which he tells Denny never to do it again.

Meanwhile, a few offices over, Brad is confessing to Denise that girls keep dumping him because he's a terrible kisser when he just does what everyone else does: presses lips, sticks his tongue in and swishes it around a little. Denise says this does not sound so good. At first Brad tries giving up women and asks Alan if he wants to hang out with the guys, but Alan protests that any gathering of three or more men is like a team to him and he has never been good at teams. Then Brad asks if he's a good kisser, and Alan flees. Trying to be helpful, Denise offers verbal pointers and then demonstrates, and it turns out that Brad is a very fast learner! Even though he has to get over the fact that he doesn't like it when a woman's tongue goes into his mouth, to which Denise says he needs to drop the homeland security routine. ( and I were howling because Brad, though vastly better looking, reminds us of his post-college roommate who was in law school and utterly terrified of women...also hated the word "vagina.") This ends, of course, with Denise and Brad locking the door, after which she says it was just a kissing demonstration and he says, "We had sex. On the floor. Incredible sex." But since they work together, Denise will not consider doing it again. Waaaah! I am hoping -- and assuming -- that she will get over this quickly.

In the end, on the roof, Denny points out that he is still at large "and don't think I take it for granted" since in any pinko country like Japan, he'd be in jail. He reiterates the idea that all Americans should be armed, since the criminals are and more guns would diminish their power, to which Alan says he's surprised Denny didn't think of this sooner. Denny blames Mad Cow, wanting to know if it's Alzheimer's if he can't remember how many people he shot, but Alan says it only matters if he can't remember who. Then Denny asks how Alan did with Shalina and Melissa and Alan has to explain that the only sex was theoretical. He asks how come his "lover" never introduced him to his therapist. "A man never introduces his wife to his mistress," Denny tells him. Alan says that's a shame -- it would make for a hell of a party. Which Sidney would agree with, since in the courtroom while he was waving the gun around and shouting accusations, he insisted that Alan was really Denny's therapist...the person he told all his secrets. Awwww.

One of these days I will catch up on comments, really.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Poem for Tuesday

White Apples
By Donald Hall

when my father had been dead a week
I woke
with his voice in my ear
                         I sat up in bed

and held my breath
and stared at the pale closed door

white apples and the taste of stone

if he called again
I would put on my coat and galoshes


From Billy Collins' review of Donald Hall's White Apples and the Taste of Stone in The Washington Post Book World the Sunday before last (article here). Collins calls Hall "an authority on grief" (he documented the death of his wife Jane Kenyon in his poems) and "a major figure in the canon of contemporary American the Frostian tradition of the plainspoken rural poet." The poems, says Collins, gain sincerity from "simple, concrete diction and the no-nonsense sequence of the declarative sentence" and in the poems, "as in reality, the dead outnumber the living."

I don't know where Monday went so don't ask me! I retagged some of my tags that were jumping over the point at which LJ refers them to day pages, and I wrote articles on various original series actors and Star Trek XI possibilities plus a voice actor who was on TNG and DS9, and I did lots of writing in various places so I guess my total word count for the day is probably impressive though a lot of it was scattered so it didn't seem that way! Younger son had Mad Science and older son had fencing, so the after-school-through-dinner hours were a little hectic. Took a lovely walk in the lovely weather -- even the pollen did not get to me.

At night we all watched the second half of Elizabeth I, which once again had excellent performances and Hugh Dancy looked good enough to eat...Essex told Elizabeth at one point that she looked like she was planning to eat him, and I was sort of hoping she would (oral sex doesn't count when you're a Virgin Queen, does it? *calls Bill Clinton for consultation*) I missed Jeremy did the queen. *g* But the dialogue was so over the top, and again Elizabeth spent so much time throwing huge temper tantrums over her boyfriends in front of hundreds of people, it's a wonder any governing went on at all while she was on the throne. Sigh.

Since I posted pictures from Shakespeare's birthday party, I figured I should post a few photos of the Folger Library itself, which boasts the largest Shakespeare collection in the world. There are nine bas-relief murals on the front of the library depicting scenes from Shakespeare's plays.

This is the stained glass window in the old reading room depicting the Seven Ages of Man from As You Like It.

The bust of Shakespeare at the front of the reading room that could be seen in the fight demonstration photo yesterday is a replica of the one in Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon; there are also coats-of-arms, paintings of the Tudors and tapestries.

Puck, holding one of the Shakespeare birthday balloons here, is on one side of the building...

...and there is a garden on the other side, with statues representing scenes from Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

I posted a picture of the knitted penguin that 's mother made for our younger son at : here, along with the pattern.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Poem for Monday

Spring Training
By Lynn Rigney Schott

The last of the birds has returned --
the bluebird, shy and flashy.
The bees carry fat baskets of pollen
from the alders around the pond.
The wasps in the attic venture downstairs,
where they congregate on warm windowpanes.
Every few days it rains.

This is my thirty-fifth spring;
still I am a novice at my work,
confused and frightened and angry.
Unlike me, the buds do not hesitate,
the hills are confident they will be
perfectly reflected
in the glass of the river.

I oiled my glove yesterday.
Half the season is over.
When will I be ready?

On my desk sits a black-and-white postcard picture
of my father -- skinny, determined,
in a New York Giants uniform --
ears protruding, eyes riveted.
Handsome, single-minded, he looks ready.

Thirty-five years of warmups.
Like glancing down at the scorecard
in your lap for half a second
and when you look up it's done--
a long fly ball, moonlike,
into the night
over the fence,
way out of reach.


The Washington Post Book World this week is about sports books, so Poet's Choice is too. "Ever since the Greek poet Pindar wrote his odes celebrating the original Olympic athletes, sports have been associated with the passing of time, the brevity of life," writes Robert Pinsky. "Baseball seems to invite meditations on time all the more because, as has often been observed, it is the sport without a clock: In theory, the extra innings are infinite -- but not really." Lynn Rigney Schott is the daughter of major league player and manager Bill Rigney. Pinsky says he likes "the candid, unfussy way the baseball metaphors arrive: half the season for the midpoint of life at 35, warmups and the oiled glove for preparations not yet fulfilled. Also appealing is the notion of the scorecard as a distraction from what's really important...Schott also implies that for the poet's work one must be not only 'single-minded' but many-minded: aware of the bluebirds and the desk and the baseball and the rain and the New York Giants."

After a morning home in the pouring rain writing Star Trek news -- manga Trek comics and Ethan Phillips in a new movie -- the sun came out, we picked the kids up from Hebrew school and went downtown to Shakespeare's birthday party at the Folger Shakespeare Library. It was a blast -- there were many craft tables including mask-making, brass rubbings, garland-weaving, draw-your-own-Shakespeare and flag-making, and interestingly younger son declared disinterest while older son, whom we had feared might be too old for the kids' activities, made a mask. There were also stage fighting demonstrations, music, abbreviated plays performed by local high schools and an opportunity for students to read Shakespearean monologues on the Folger Library stage (which is not to be confused with the The Shakespeare Theatre, no longer next door to the library). We watched the swordfighting demonstration in the reading room and some of the juggling and costume procession outside. Then Queen Elizabeth arrived and cut the cake for Shakespeare's birthday, which they had very well planned, as they actually had enough cake for everybody and got it distributed fairly quickly! And of course it was like a mini-Renaissance Faire, with lots of guests in costume and speaking in accents. So great fun.

"Elizabeth I" prepares to cut the cake for Shakespeare's birthday celebration. (Yes, that book is edible, though they didn't cut it at the party -- there were lots of other, smaller cakes, and I suspect that one got saved for the Folger Library staff!)

The stage weapons and combat display in the reading room.

A student plays Lady Macbeth on the Folger Library stage.

And kids get to be lords and ladies.

Since we were downtown we stopped in a couple of bookstores between where we parked and the library (I'd have taken my kids to the Library of Congress, but it's closed to visitors Sunday, as are the Supreme Court and the Capitol which are both nearby). One of the used bookstores, Riverby, had a live jazz trio out front (and an anthology of Cavafy poems very inexpensively), and since it was a gorgeous day we hung out in the neighborhood around East Capitol Street a bit. Then we came home for dinner and watched The West Wing, about which I wish I had something profound to say, but I was sort of distracted; I don't know if it's because the show is winding down, because there was so little CJ, because I miss Leo, because the transition is all about -- well -- transition or because the more Josh/Donna we get, the more I want to put Donna on a plane going someplace other than wherever Josh will be. Not even the great Sam/Josh moments really floated my boat. I'm just kind of out of love with Josh, I guess. And much as I loved Matt and Jed's tete-a-tete, I found it easier to adore Matt the candidate than Matt the president-elect.

Wow, it's Monday already. I got used to spring break and long stretches of family stuff! Must get organized!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Poem for Sunday

Sonnet LX
By William Shakespeare

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown’d,
Crooked eclipses ’gainst his glory fight,
And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth
And delves the parallels in beauty’s brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature’s truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow:
    And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
    Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.


Poet's Choice will be a day late this week in honor of the Bard's birthday. Also in honor of the Bard's birthday, we are going to the birthday party at the Folger Shakespeare Library, so I will not be around much in the afternoon after the kids get home from Hebrew school!

Saturday it rained hard all morning. However, they did not call my son's soccer game until nine kids from his team had arrived and only three from the other team did...and they have not yet granted my son's team the forfeit even though technically the week counts! We are totally mystified. In the afternoon the rain had slowed to a drizzle and we decided to go to the National Arboretum to see the azaleas, which the web site said were supposed to peak Tuesday but we suspected might have been affected by the downpour and would not be around by next weekend. They were glorious, just like last year and two years ago, and because it was drizzly there were no crowds whatsoever. And azaleas look almost more dramatic on a gray day than a sunny one, and we were not melting in the heat as we have on previous visits, so it was a perfectly gorgeous afternoon! Here are azaleas just after the rain:

I also wrote up Scott Bakula at the National Press Club, which took most of the early part of the day, but was a lot of fun to revisit...I did not transcribe his whole speech but was impressed all over again listening. I also read enough of my friends list to find everyone making romance novel covers, so here's mine -- fannish, of course, and really not very original but the Remus/Sirius pic worked lots better than the Remus/Severus pics I had: The Shaggy Secret!

In the evening we all watched the first part of Elizabeth I on HBO, which I enjoyed far more than I should have, given that the screenplay was yet another "Elizabeth's love life caused her no end of trouble" drama with almost nothing about anything else that happened during her reign (the Armada was an excuse for Leicester to tell her that she had the heart and stomach of a king). But HELEN MIRREN as Elizabeth! And JEREMY IRONS as Leicester! And HUGH DANCY as Essex! (The latter two of whom were so hot together that, as I said to , I wondered why Leicester was shagging Essex's mother instead of Essex himself once he grew up.) The sets and costumes were wonderful...I am sure someone is about to tell me that Mary Queen of Scots' costume was made out of some material that did not actually exist until 43 years later but I wouldn't know...and interesting that rather than casting Mary young and pretty, like Katharine Hepburn in that role, they cast her looking nearly as old as Mirren herself and with none of the charm or charisma. Some of the dialogue was quite witty and Mirren and Irons have lovely chemistry. I am looking forward to part two on Monday!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Poem for Saturday

The God Abandons Antony
By Constantine Cavafy
Translated by Aliki Barnstone & Willis Barnstone

When suddenly at the midnight hour
you hear the invisible troupe passing by
with sublime music, with voices --
don't futilely mourn your luck giving out, your work
collapsing, the designs of your life
that have all proved to be illusions.
As if long prepared, as if full of courage,
say good-bye to her, the Alexandria who is leaving.
Above all don't fool yourself, don't say it was
a dream, how your ears tricked you.
Don't stoop to such empty hopes.
As if long prepared, as if full of courage,
as is right for you who are worthy of such a city,
go stand tall by the window
and listen with feeling, but not
with the pleas and whining of a coward,
hear the voices -- your last pleasure --
the exquisite instruments of that secret troupe,
and say good-bye to her, the Alexandria you are losing.


From Michael Dirda's review in last Sunday's Washington Post Book World of The Collected Poems of C.P. Cavafy, "an anthem of stoic hedonism." Dirda writes, "By instinct, Cavafy is primarily an elegist, capable of recalling with equal emotion the touch of a hand and the fall of an empire, of memorializing both the carnal favorites of ancient Antioch and the perfect limbs of a dirty young blacksmith down the street." He was Greek, living in Egypt, seeing ancient Alexandria superimposed over modern. "He was constantly winnowing out the sentimental: Of the 148 known poems written between 1891 and 1900, he kept only seven for his 'canon.' At its best, his mature work hardly seems poetry at all...Cavafy prefers nouns and avoids epithets, uses rhyme sparingly if at all, offers lots of historical or physical detail, and typically casts a poem as a dramatic monologue." Even when he avoids speaking in the first person, adds Dirda, "everything he writes sounds like a fragment from a great confession, melancholy, witty, refined, sexy."

Of course the big news of my day was Star Trek XI (which I will believe on the day the cameras roll, not before, no matter what Paramount is or is not saying now). Christian had it posted before I was even awake, so I just tried to keep up with how people were spinning it.'s director of production apparently has me on his e-mail list now because he sent me a link to the official site's article. It's funny...for all the years Paramount was in charge of Star Trek, I had trouble getting on all the mailing lists, and now that it's under the auspices of CBS, suddenly they have new publicists who have been extremely friendly and helpful. Someone got smart about courting the fans, I guess! I reviewed "A Piece of the Action", not a particularly inspired piece of writing as the episode is fantastic but not good exactly -- many large plot holes rendered irrelevant by Kirk inventing Fizzbin and Spock attempting to speak in faux Chicago gangster slang.

Otherwise, I had a pretty quiet day -- did some writing, did some laundry, had dinner with my parents and received the latest round of warnings that if we don't have every aspect of the Bar Mitzvah plans locked down by the end of this month, every single photographer, entertainment facility, musician and engraver in the greater Washington area will be booked and we'll have ruined our son's life. Oh, and my sister and her husband, who live a few minutes from the Clintons in Westchester, went to the movies with them! Not WITH them, but the Clintons were sitting two rows in front of them in a nearly empty theater and when the movie let out, they all ended up conversing. And now my Republican brother-in-law may be working on a fundraiser for Hillary, whom he likes very much, as he thinks she has represented New York very well. All I can say is, whatever it takes! My sister found them personable and unpretentious, which from my sister is saying something. I just think it's kind of neat that on a Thursday night, Bill and Hillary went to see Inside Man together...I don't really think of them as having date nights, given that it sounds like they're almost never in the same city, so maybe they actually have a good marriage beyond the need for appearances. *g*

: What it all comes down to...
1. When is the last time you were broke?
When is the last time I was not broke? No, seriously, I have thankfully never not had money for food or gas, but I have not had money to throw around since my first year of college when my credit card bills still went to my father.
2. What makes you lose focus? SHINY! Um, just about any pleasant distraction.
3. How tall are you? 4'10". Too short for the US Naval Academy. I am very close to being legally a midget.
4. Are you brave or cowardly? Cowardly, though I am much braver when I am defending my kids.
5. What's in your pocket? I don't have one at the moment. If I did, if I was going somewhere, my cell phone would be in it.

: And more randomness...
1. How do you feel about people who commit suicide? Such as, do you feel that they are too lazy to deal with life, have depression, do you feel sorry for them, etc.?
I certainly don't think anyone who would end their own life is "too lazy to deal." The people I have known who committed suicide suffered for years from clinical depression and had had various forms of professional help that wasn't enough. I've been angry at someone for committing suicide -- she blew her brains out all over the childhood bedroom she had shared with her older sister, on a weekend home from college, when she knew that the sister would find her because her parents were gone for the day, and although I know that she was not thinking clearly by any means, I also know that her entire family -- her sister in particular -- suffered tremendously because she chose to do it in this way and at this time. But it isn't like I "blame" her; I feel terribly sorry for her and everyone close to her.
2. What do you think people say about you behind your back? I have no idea. This really isn't something I try to think about except when I have some specific evidence that some specific person has been saying things behind my back that I think are untrue or unfair.
3. If you could own and operate any major business, what would it be? Publishing books for children who can't afford them and adults who otherwise wouldn't read them.
4. Are you/would you be embarrassed to talk to your friends or family about sex? I talk to my friends about sex all the time. I talk to my kids about sex when they bring it up, which is often in the context of them revealing something patently false and sometimes very funny. I generally avoid the subject with my parents because they're much more conservative about it than I am, or at least so they've always told me and at this late date I don't really think I want to know if that's not the case!
5. In some cultures, young women are married and begin families as soon as they start a menstrual cycle. Do you believe this is right or wrong? Why? I don't think I can personally judge for entire cultures. As a general rule I think women that young must be coerced to want families at such a young age, but there tend to be other rigid expectations on young men, older women and men who are not part of the ruling group that I don't find particularly desirable either.

I am howling at the idea of the big-screen version of Dallas directed by Gurinder Chadha of Bride & Prejudice, starring John Travolta and Jennifer Lopez. Tonight was not my favorite Doctor Who, but it was enjoyable anyway, particularly since Anna Maxwell Martin aka Esther from Bleak House was playing one of the protagonists! I was wondering why Adam had stuck around from last week and I guess it was so we could get a demonstration of Rose's brand of meddling versus his, but he did come off awfully annoying and stupid after I rather liked him before...almost like they had to prove that he was an unworthy boy for Rose despite the Doctor persistently referring to him as her boyfriend ("Not anymore," she says when he faints at the sight of the space station). The Doctor is, in principle, taking them to the height of the human empire, but someone has meddled and messed up history and now everyone is controlled by a giant media conglomerate in which the role of Rupert Murdoch is played by an evil alien with big teeth. It's Big Brother meets The Matrix with the Saarlaac on the ceiling!

I desperately want the Doctor's toys: unlimited credit! A cell phone that works across time and space! Though I would not turn my brain into a giant computer interface as Adam so blithely does, I think because there's some nice S&M overtones of letting the woman from Medical strap him into a chair and talk him into the procedure. Cathica, the woman who first demonstrates how journalists transmit facts via implant chips, isn't impressed at first with the Doctor's study of the heating system on the station and doesn't get why he's not using his knowledge to play the stock market, but in the end she goes up to the top floor herself, hacks into the system and saves everyone. Yet again a girl saves the day, and not because she's deeply noble or anything; she's so resentful that Suki (the character played by Martin) got promoted ahead of her that she doesn't stop to think about how it might not be a good thing if promotion means no one ever sees you again. Plus it turns out that Suki was an anarchist, a member of a freedom group who's been trying to infiltrate the upper levels so she can kill the people controlling the media! And in the end, she does, holding the human liaison for the evil alien trapped in the room when he explodes.

I must admit to being kind of fond of the Murdoch (as I am going to call the Saarlaac), which may look like an evil scary monster guy but which runs Satellite Five and therefore the entire human race, as his minion the Editor explains. "I'll have to speak to the Editor in Chief," the Editor says ominously, and having worked for newspapers, I can completely identify with everyone's bug-eyed horror. "Create a climate of fear, it's easy to keep the borders closed," he observes. Rose asks if the people on Earth are slaves, and he ponders whether people can be slaves if they don't know they're enslaved...well, duh, the Doctor interrupts. I hesitate to watch through shipper eyes because I know Eccleston is not back next season and because the show is encouraging shipping just enough that it makes me nervous. The Doctor gets in all those boyfriend jokes with Rose, while Adam insists, "You'd rather be with him. It's gonna take a better man than me to get between you two" before sending Rose off with the Doctor while he goes to get brain surgery. (And, I mean, obviously most men would be an improvement on Adam this week, even Mickey who was afraid of time-and-space travel.) I don't want the Doctor to die or turn into someone else or whatever happens to get Tennant in the role!

Winterthur is home to The Campbell Collection of Soup Tureens, which are in a beautiful set of rooms with glass on both sides overlooking the estate.

Here, as above, you can see some of the gardens and buildings in the background. The top photo includes part of the mansion.

A chicken and a pig. There were also a rabbit, a swan and what appeared to be a Hindu goddess coming out of a cabbage.

The tureen in the front is based on a wooden-hulled battleship.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Poem for Friday

Possibly a Crow
By Jean L. Connor

Something about the slow
wingbeat, the size, the print
of black against the low gray sky;

the bird's entering, but
even more, his leaving,
an absence marked by

the sudden widening out
of space, the sky still receptive
to brush strokes of black

long after they have ended. Then,
peace, soft, akin
to mist-like rain

and in the quiet,
the deepened need
to go on.


From here, Rafael Campo's review of poetry about peace from last Sunday's Washington Post Book World. "Political poetry today is, as ever, a vexed enterprise," he writes. "On one side are those who feel that poetry is no place for politics; they cleave to W.H. Auden's famous statement that 'poetry makes nothing happen.' But others interpret Auden entirely differently, citing some of his own more expressly political poetry, and declaring that the poetic impulse is inherently an activist one, a call to community engagement." The books, he says, "are not so much an argument against war as they are testimony to our abiding desire for peace." Connor, he adds, "makes a singular beauty of the receding blackness of the ominous bird. Peace, for this superb poet, is our ability to make sense out of fear, to make care and feeling from our own inescapable, insatiable needs."

I absolutely loved that poem, and somehow it seemed to go with these photos from Wednesday of the house where Abraham Lincoln died. I'm just going to reproduce the placards verbatim:

President Lincoln died in this room at 7:22 a.m. on April 15, 1865.

Between visits to her husband's bedside, Mary Lincoln waited in this parlor with her son Robert and friends of the Lincoln family.

In this bedroom, Secretary of War Stanton held several cabinet meetings, interviewed witnesses, and ordered the pursuit of the assassins.

Quiet day. Wrote articles on Patrick Stewart (being Marc Antony) and John Billingsley (being a goofball). Had lunch with the lovely , for whom I waited in a bookstore and read part of The Secret Supper while waiting for her. It was ringing all my Treasure of Montsegur/Lempriere's Dictionary/Da Vinci Code bells, so has anyone read it? I don't care if the art analysis isn't accurate or the mystery is mediocre -- Dan Brown's formulaic writing did not ruin Angels and Demons for me, though I enjoyed it rather less in Digital Fortress. I just love historical religious conspiracy novels. (And hey, Baigent and Leigh, they work better than claiming you are writing non-fiction, then suing successful fiction writers who cite you!) Younger son had soccer practice in the early evening, older son decided he wanted to go shoot baskets with while he was playing. also got me Columbia Games' Waterloo card game!

Thursday is now a big TV night, since they moved Commander in Chief too late for my kids to watch. They seem to be trying to get back to the original formula in which Donald Sutherland's character is a scheming jerk and Natasha Henstridge is his evil associate, but the stories are all agonizingly formulaic. At a quarter after, the president is insisting that she is going to stick to her plan. At half past, she is considering selling out her principles. At a quarter of, some twist has allowed her to get her way and make a speech about how the American people are smarter than the press gives them credit for. And at the end of the show there's some vaguely unfinished business but everyone announces how great she is, in case we the viewers might somehow fail to think that (this week the intolerably bad actress trying to be press secretary had someone say it to her too, which just...ugh. Have these writers never heard of show, don't tell?). Anyway, I suspect the show will not be back next season given its plummeting ratings and I can't even really be sorry, which is sad because Geena Davis as president could have been so fantastic. Fortunately, we also get Smallville, which we missed last week while sightseeing! And this week there was almost no Lana and lots and lots of Lionel, who gets kidnapped by a fan fiction writer!

Okay, not really, but it felt that way, and I mean that in a GOOD sense. While Lionel is pledging his life to Martha Kent (who is SO going to be shagging him by the end of the season please please please), Lex is making speeches to Clark about how now that they're working together to rescue their parents, maybe they can snuggle, er, be friends again! I was in heaven through the whole episode. First Lionel has to play hangman on his laptop, which has been taken over by an evil guy in a tinfoil mask, to survive a train wreck. The answer is his own motto, "No Mercy," which Tinfoil Man says he learned from Lionel. Of course Lionel gets away and immediately assumes it was Lex who tried to kill flash, Lionel, if Lex had you locked in a car on the train tracks and wanted you dead, he wouldn't have unlocked the doors. Lex is studying chess so he can teach Lana, because of course that's what Lex wants to do with a woman! When Lionel accuses his loving son of trying to kill him, Lex says, "Luthorcorp profits are up...why would I want you dead?" Hahahaha! And then Lex explains that seeing Lionel fail miserably in his bid to retake Luthercorp was retribution enough for the attempt. "I may not like you very much, Dad, but you're a valuable asset to Luthorcorp." Lionel says his concern is truly touching. Lionel is the hottest thing around and he hasn't even taken off his shirt yet.

But then Lionel gets abducted from his office by Tinfoil Man, whose first order of business is to put Lionel in a scenario where he's wearing nothing but a sleeveless undershirt and sweating. He makes grandiose speeches about how he's just another faceless employee and Lionel commands his workers to carry the burden of his empire. Tinfoil Man, whom I think I shall call Fanfic Writer from now on, has already killed Lionel's chauffeur so he can show Lionel a videotape proving the same thing will happen to Lionel if he doesn't play the game correctly. Fanfic Writer then gives Lionel the Indiana Jones "Justice" Tarot Card test, and when Lionel successfully balances the scales while walking through the flames of perdition -- where he yet again claims he didn't kill his parents, I wonder whether we'll ever get conclusive information on that one -- he discovers that Martha has been put by Fanfic Writer in a soundproof glass room that is filling with water! Lionel has to solve a word scramble or she will die! Martha is, of course, completely underwater with her hair flying everywhere when Lionel solves the puzzle, so he gets to embrace her when she collapses, though unfortunately he does not administer mouth-to-mouth. "Genuine concern for another human being? I suspected your relationship with the Senator was more than just political," says Fanfic Writer, who then makes them move on to the third task by threatening to electrocute them.

Meanwhile, one minute Lex is teaching Lana chess and professing that he wil never, ever, ever forget kissing her and the next, he's off to find Daddy, discovering when Clark (who has learned from Martha how Lionel found out his secret...because she trusted Lionel) storms through the door demanding to know where Mommy is. Chloe uses her Super Duper Tracking Skills to figure out where Lionel and Martha have been dragged off to, and Lex tells Clark it's a shame it takes a crisis to get them in the same room together. "Maybe after all this we can try to find our way back," he suggests. But once Clark finds out where Martha and Lionel really are, during a private conversation with Chloe while Lex is consulting his security guy, he super-speeds off. Where Martha and Lionel really are is in an elevator, where Fanfic Man gives them a variant of the Love Test from Space: 1999! My kind of villain! Before he explains the test, though, Lionel explains to Martha about having tried to take over Luthercorp from Lex and how he really did it as a teaching exercise, to remove the temptations of power and money so Lex could rediscover his own humanity. Martha, inimitably, replies, "Did you ever think of talking to him, father to son?" (At this point my whole family was howling.) That might work in the Kent family, but Lex is not Clark and I'm not the father Jonathan Kent was, protests Lionel, who's so much better than the material it's not funny. And he's still wearing that wife-beater.

So the plan is this: There's a gun in the elevator (one of those big open cage-like ones, you can see out the top, sides and bottom). Lionel either has to shoot Martha or let her shoot him or the elevator will fall. "I'm sorry, Martha, please forgive me," says Lionel, who then insists that she has to shoot him. "You're good. So many people depend on you, especially Clark. What a special boy he is." Lex -- who is watching this on the computer that Fanfic Writer has helpfully left for him -- raises his eyebrows. Martha shrieks that she can't shoot Lionel, so he says he'll do it himself, but the gun's not loaded! Lionel rants that the game was rigged, but Fanfic Writer -- who reveals himself to be the security guy who swept his office for bugs after the train wreck incident -- says that Lionel should know some games are rigged. Lionel begs him to let Martha go, please please please, while she cries. "I'm sorry," Lionel says all teary and heartfelt, and Fanfic Writer says that's all he wanted to hear...and drops the elevator down the shaft. At which point Clark, of course, spots it coming down and stops it. Lionel and Martha can both see him beneath the cage. "That was...miraculous," Lionel says, and calls Clark "son." Did I mention that he needs to wear nothing but sweaty undershirts in more episodes?

So Lex visits Dad, who lies and says the elevator brakes saved their lives, but Lex knows that the brakes were disabled. He's kind of curious what Lionel meant when he told Martha that Clark was a special boy -- oh, the envy, the jealousy, the lust! Lex is also kind of curious about where Clark went after he supersped away -- one minute standing in the same room, the next he's across town -- and Lionel says, "You're still obsessing over him after all these years." Even my nine-year-old hooted at that! Yes, I watch this show just for moments like that and I don't care if it makes me a loser. Elsewhere, Martha is telling the simple farm boy that Lionel is no saint but this wasn't his fault -- he was willing to sacrifice himself for Clark's future -- but Clark insists that Lionel never does anything that doesn't benefit him in the end. He visits Lionel, who admits he's known about Clark since he touched the crystal that put him in a coma a year ago. "To reveal your secret would change your destiny and it would harm someone I care about very deeply," declares Lionel, who looks awfully excited when Clark gets in his face -- and I mean in his FACE, there are like two inches between them, I hope Tom Welling and John Glover both brushed their teeth and I desperately hope there was face-grabbing and kissing on the blooper reel. "I hope you will come to trust me, son," Lionel says. "You don't call me that. Jonathan Kent was my father," retorts Clark, adding, "Secret or no secret, you'll stay away from my mother or you'll wish I never saved your life." Oh, the Oedipal drama! The episode unfortunately ends with Lionel collapsing and writing something we can't see on an envelope, but he can't die. Not until he and Martha do it. And Clark and Lex console one another.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Poem for Thursday

O Captain! My Captain!
By Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
    But O heart! heart! heart!
      O the bleeding drops of red,
        Where on the deck my Captain lies,
          Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
    Here Captain! dear father!
      This arm beneath your head;
        It is some dream that on the deck,
          You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
    Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
      But I, with mournful tread,
        Walk the deck my Captain lies,
          Fallen cold and dead.


You're probably laughing at me for the poem, but it's not for Captain Archer -- it's because my major activity for the day only marginally related to Scott Bakula was walking to Ford's Theatre, where Bakula is currently starring in Shenandoah. The theater had very long lines of people waiting to see the museum and presidential box, and since Donna, the person I was with, had seen the show there several times, I didn't feel like I could ask her to wait with me, especially since she had been up since about 4 a.m. to fly into Washington (I picked her up at Reagan National and dropped her off there in the afternoon, and she got me into the National Press Club luncheon). But Donna had not been in the house where Lincoln died, also known as Petersen's Boarding House (hey , the Petersens were immigrants from Hannover). That had a much shorter line, so since I had not been there since I was about 14, we walked through the open rooms of the house -- the parlor where Mary Lincoln waited for news from the doctors, the side bedroom where the Secretary of War supervised the pursuit of the assassins (some of the Cabinet members blamed Edwin Stanton for the shooting since he was supposed to be in charge of security), and the bedroom where Lincoln passed away four days and 141 years ago.

Donna is one of the people who runs Project Quantum Leap and had been very helpful sending TrekToday news about Bakula, and she had also worked with the press club to publicize this luncheon, which we mentioned on the site three times. We went out for coffee (well, actually iced chai latte) after walking around Ford's Theatre; she introduced me to a bunch of Quantum Leap fans who had come for the event and to the Ford's Theatre and press club publicity people. I was kind of wary of meeting die-hard Bakula fans because I know he has had horrific stalker problems, and we have on occasion been asked to remove news bullets about charity events he was doing for his kids' schools and stuff because someone didn't want that information getting out in public, but these people were quite friendly and certainly weren't scarier than some of the Kate Mulgrew fans I knew back in the day. *g* (No one trying to break into his dressing room to find out what brand of lipstick he keeps in his purse at least, hee.)

I had to quickly throw together an article for TrekToday when I got home -- tractor beam, tricorder and synthehol being developed -- and retrieve my kids from my mom since older son had Hebrew tutoring for his Bar Mitzvah in the evening. At night we watched Holy Warriors, about how Richard the Lionhearted's legend diverges from reality and why Richard, Saladin and the Third Crusade remain so important in defining conflict over land in the Middle East. It was well done but I was too tired to pay full attention!

Scott holding his certificate from the National Press Club to thank him for being a speaker. As I should have explained earlier, the long hair and scruffy unshaven look are for his character in Shenandoah to be Civil War-era in appearance!

And during the Q&A -- the guy who heads the speakers' committee asked all the questions, which had been submitted via e-mail and written out on little cards that were on the tables.

I have to get up very early Thursday and I had to get up very early Wednesday! Waah!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Poem for Wednesday

The Birch Grove
By Seamus Heaney

At the back of a garden, in earshot of river water,
In a corner walled off like the baths or bake-house
Of an unroofed abbey or broken-floored Roman villa,
They have planted their birch grove. Planted it recently only,
But already each morning it puts forth in the sun
Like their own long grown-up selves, the white of the bark
As suffused and cool as the white of the satin nightdress
She bends and straightens up in, pouring tea,
Sitting across from where he dandles a sandal
On his big time-keeping foot, as bare as an abbot's.
Red brick and slate, plum tree and apple retain
Their credibility, a CD of Bach is making the rounds
Of the common or garden air. Above them a jet trail
Tapers and waves like a willow wand or a taper.
"If art teaches us anything," he says, trumping life
With a quote, "it's that the human condition is private."


Yet another from The Washington Post Book World poetry issue, though in fact the paper only published this review by Anthony Cuda of Heaney's District and Circle - the poem was published here in The Guardian along with a review of the same volume, which is where I found it. Cuda calls the book "original, startling and aesthetically compelling."

My day was relatively uneventful -- went to the post office, sat outside Starbucks for an hour trying to write an article on my MDA using their wireless hotspot, picked up the kids, wrote articles on George Takei being my hero again and on a Canadian technological development that could lead to something like a holodeck. Then I got invited to go to a luncheon at the National Press Club tomorrow where Scott Bakula will be speaking about Shenandoah and its contemporary relevance. <squee>YESSSSS!</squee> *uses icon made by in honor of occasion* So I will be picking up my escort at the airport tomorrow morning (since this is in official TrekToday capacity, not Star Trek fangirl capacity) and spending the day downtown. If I can figure out what the hell to wear to the National Press Club.

My nightly news other than that was Candice Bergen and Tom Selleck having sex on Boston Legal! Unfortunately not onscreen. The episode starts with him kissing her goodbye at 6 a.m. with her warning that someone could see and him insisting that no one will be in the office at that hour, which naturally is Denny's cue to come around the corner and see them. "One question: Who was on top?" Ivan says, "Me, her, me and then her." This would be charming, since Ivan supposedly left his wife last time Tom Selleck was on the show, but then Missy shows up in Shirley's office to confess that she thinks Ivan is cheating! "Oh god," says Shirley. "He hasn't said anything to you?" Missy says she has a feeling his eye has wandered and begs Shirley to talk to him, to which Shirley replies, "Oh, I'll talk to him." When she does, Ivan swears that he and Missy are done, though he thinks it's possible that she and he were not on the same page when he told her that...she thought he was just going out drinking with the guys. Shirley says he laid the oldest line in the married man's playbook on her and she swallowed it. "Ivan, tell her." "And then?" "There is no then, Ivan, we are only dealing in now. Tell her."

Meanwhile Brad has a problem because there's this very hot new associate, Audrey, who agrees to go out with him right away...but she says she's going to show him her vagina, and he freaks. Not so much at the concept of sex on the first date, but the fact that she said vagina. He goes and asks Denise whether vagina means something else in Italian -- "Is it another term for some sort of ancient sea craft?" When he explains that he practically feels sexually harrassed by Audrey's ease with the term, Denise says she would probably not talk about her sea craft so blithely but really doesn't see why this should be a deal breaker since it's just a word. "So anchors aweigh." Brad, however, keeps calling Audrey's vagina THAT -- as in, quoting her, "My THAT really feels good" -- and he thinks he needs to end it with her even though (as he says) he loves the item, just hates hearing the word vagina said aloud. Fortunately, Audrey rocks, breaks it off with him and tells him to grow up, pointing out that guys have thousands of names for their equipment. Eventually he agrees that it's just a word and says he wants to go out with her again, but when she demands that he say it, he'll only say, "I'm thinking it." So she walks away, and he rolls his eyes and yells, "VAGINA!" as the whole firm stares. Hee!

When Missy visits Shirley again to say she thinks she was just being a nervous bride and she wishes she knew how she could trust Ivan, Shirley suggests a post-nuptual agreement. Ivan loathes the idea, since Missy would get everything he loves if they split up. "So what do you love, Ivan? Maybe you should give it some thought." Shirley thinks it's a brilliant idea because if Ivan cheats, they might have to rename the Ivan Tiggs Theatre the The Ivan Tiggs Can't Keep It In His Pants Theatre. He tries to talk Missy out of the postnup, saying it would cause him suffering, but she agrees, saying she pledges her her musical theater collection, her Phantom mask and her autographed A Chorus Line album cover, because she believes that love can be forever in this horrible and jaded world which is why she loves musicals and him. "I can't imagine ever breaking your heart and I think if you broke my heart, my life would be over."

Of course he buckles and signs the post-nup, while Shirley says she knew it would end between herself and Ivan one way or another anyway since no one woman ever really has him. Once it's signed and Ivan can't come after Shirley again unless he really means it, Missy thanks Shirley. "I knew you were a woman of principle," she says. "And now I know my Ivan won't cheat on me. With anyone." Not nearly as dumb as she seems, and I don't know whether to be glad she isn't so naive or kind of sad that she knew all along what she was getting. Denny brings Shirley drinks, saying he knows her heart was crushed and her pride wounded all in one day, which makes her comment that Crane, Poole and Schmidt has the fastest water cooler in town and that she feels like such a fool. "If anybody knows about being a fool, it's Denny Crane," he insists, then asks if this means that she's back on the market. "Denny, as far as you're concerned, I'm always on the market," she replies. Then she adds, "You are a dear sweet man," and whispers his name for him. Oooh.

The most serious storyline of the week brought back Jerry and his Aspergers, which wasn't well done in the first place and is rather acutely painful here -- Alan tries to help him bring a case to trial, which ends in disaster for everyone involved, since Jerry further implicates his client and Alan advises the man to flee the country rather than face a life in jail for what Alan considers a just crime -- trying to beat to death the man who murdered his son and then got off on a technicality. I really take issue with Alan here. And I can't watch the show trying to have it both ways, mocking Jerry for humor while attempting to portray the plight of disabled people. (And can't someone apply for a mistrial if his own lawyer screws him over?)

In the end, though, which usually makes up for all sins of the show, Denny tells Alan that he hears Alan misplaced a client, and Alan says that, like car keys and sunglasses, the man will show up somewhere. Denny said he once misplaced a client -- sent him to an island with no extradition treaty -- and he gets holiday cards from him every year. Alan thinks it would be paradise to go away to an island where the simple act of thatching a roof might dissipate the voices in his head, to which Denny adds that it would particularly be paradise if it's an island where the natives run around "with their boobies hanging out." Denny also points out that, no matter how hard the ethical choices one must make, "you always get to choose what you want for lunch." Alan says admiringly that he's always impressed by Denny's ability just to live life, and Denny reminds him, "It's either that or die."

Also, I am sending a big hairy shaggy wet thank you to for reasons of which she is only too aware. *g* And I forgot to say thanks for all the John de Lancie questions to various people! I suck!

From the Delaware Museum of Natural History, as you can see from the label, an ornithopod egg from China. Researchers had done ultrasounds on the unhatched eggs to see what was inside, and there were photos of the embryos as well as some microscopes set up with embryonic dinosaurs from shattered eggs.

This is the thickest dinosaur eggshell ever discovered, found in Argentina -- a titanosaur shell preserved in silica.

A real egg and an unreal egg. Sorry about the blurriness and glare in these photos; I was shooting through thick glass in a room with direct sunlight shining in, and did not do a good job guessing at the settings.

I believe that this is the same femur bone we saw in Harrisburg, visible on this page, which also has more eggs.

Must go sleep so I can be a professional fangirl tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Poem for Tuesday

Pathetic Fallacy
By Mary Karr

When it became impossible to speak to you
due to your having died and been incinerated,
I sometimes held the uncradled phone

with its neat digits and arcane symbols (crosshatch,
black star) as if embedded in it
were some code I could punch in

to reach you. You bequeathed me
this morbid bent, Mother.
Who gives her sixth-grade daughter

Sartre's Nausea to read? All my life,
I watched you face the void,
leaning into it as a child with a black balloon

will bury her countenance
either to hide from
or to merge with that darkness.

Small wonder that still
in the invisible scrim of air
that delineates our separate worlds,

your features sometimes press toward me
all silvery from the afterlife, woven in wind,
to whisper a caution. Or your hand on my back

shoves me into my life.


Another poem from a book reviewed in this week's Washington Post Book World poetry issue. Here, reviewer Judith Kitchen discusses Karr's fourth book, Sinners Welcome, "chronicling a move from 'undiluted agnosticism' to tempered Catholicism." Karr herself writes, "To confess my unlikely Catholicism in Poetry -- the journal that first published some of the godless twentieth-century disillusionaries of J. Alfred Prufrock and his pals -- feels like an act of perversion kinkier than any dildo-wielding dominatrix could manage on HBO's 'Real Sex Extra.'" Kitchen notes that Karr calls herself a "black-belt sinner" and her most moving poems "are those in which the speaker wrestles with the emotions of letting go...theology takes on a kind of earthy insight; set against an understated backdrop of persistent violence (the smoke of 9/11, the specter of Nazi Germany), the restless interchange between the devout and the degraded creates a potent synergy."

Last day of spring break, relatively quiet. We ended up at IHOP with my father, where we ate a great deal and were very happy (I had the stuffed apple cinnamon french toast; older son had the chocolate chip pancakes, younger son had the new cinnamon stick things, father had regular pancakes, and we had an assortment of eggs, turkey sausage, bacon, hash browns, etc.)

Then we came home and I wrote three articles (Gates McFadden, Ron Moore, a Star Trek: New Voyages guest actor) and did some research so I could interview John de Lancie in what was a tease of a phone interview -- everyone got 15 minutes with him, and he was in a garrulous mood, which was great in that all my questions got very thoroughly answered, but bad in that I only got to half of them! But really fun, and he still seems quite happy to be talking about Star Trek (this is promo for the upcoming DVD set of all the Q episodes on TNG, DS9 and VOY) even though he is staging an opera next month and just finished an Adam Sandler film. I hope they give us Michael Dorn when they do the Klingon set...I've never interviewed him and I would love to.

There is a massive water garden at Longwood Gardens. This is one of the lakes. I suspect that when the bushes are in bloom in a couple of weeks, it will look a lot like Thomas Kinkade's Garden of Prayer.

Some of the trees around the smaller lake were in bloom, like this one.

The formal fountains...

...create rainbows in the afternoon light.

We watched Digging for the Truth which was on the search for Sodom and Gomorrah, which, if they existed, were likely destroyed by earthquake, not the wrath of God, at least according to archaeologists. And Lot's wife is a 20-foot-tall stone, not a pillar of salt! Otherwise, I have frittered away the entire evening fiddling with flower photos from Pennsylvania and tagging...a certain wicked inspiring influence has me writing two utterly dirty epics at once. Does it get any more fun than that?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Poem for Monday

Birds Appearing in a Dream
By Michael Collier

One had feathers like a blood-streaked koi,
another a tail of color-coded wires.
One was a blackbird stretching orchid wings,
another a flicker with a wounded head.

All flew like leaves fluttering to escape,
bright, circulating in burning air,
and all returned when the air cleared.
One was a kingfisher trapped in its bower,

deep in the ground, miles from water.
Everything is real and everything isn’t.
Some had names and some didn’t.
Named and nameless shapes of birds,

at night my hand can touch your feathers
and then I wipe the vernix from your wings,
you who have made bright things from shadows,
you who have crossed the distances to roost in me.


This poem is from one of the books reviewed in this week's Washington Post Book World, the annual poetry issue. Collier was my professor in an MFA program at the University of Maryland -- an excellent teacher, and I only came to appreciate him as a poet afterward. In this review, Frances Phillips writes of the "wild presence [of] the birds that land, nest, arise, devour, fall and sing throughout this book. Collier's birds are both fragile -- 'less than an ounce,/and are so little of water,/more hollow than bone' -- and ominous." In the poem above, "Collier envisions an array of extraordinary, colorful creatures: 'you who have made bright things from shadows,/you who have crossed the distances to roost in me.' Just as birds allegorically cross the distances, passing from the material to the spiritual world, their presence here echoes dream visits to the poet from the dead or dying. Collier's spectral visitors do not seem to be vengeful or haunting but instead draw attention to the places where one pauses in that passage from one state of being to another."

We went downtown today to the National Gallery of Art to see the Dada exhibit, to which I insisted on arriving by 1 p.m. to hear the score from Le Ballet mécanique. When this piece was first performed in Paris (written as a film score, but too long for the film and performed for an audience long before Antheil's dream of a performance on player pianos with automated percussion, as the National Gallery has staged it, was possible), it caused riots. Hemingway and Pound wrote about them. I first discovered Dada at the time I discovered The Little Review, reading an excerpt from Margaret Anderson's autobiography about the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, one of Dada's more entertaining US resident artists, and it was a real treat to get to see so much Man Ray and Tristan Tzara in one place, although the focus of the exhibit was on the European cities where the movement thrived; it was less overtly political in America.

Instruments set up for Le Ballet mécanique, including some of the 16 player pianos. You can't see all the fans, alarms, etc. in this photo!

There was a fantastic anti-totalitarian sketch about keeping the world safe for democracy with a brutal officer standing over chained citizens that I was really hoping they'd be selling as a poster -- chillingly appropriate at the moment -- but unfortunately the only posters were the better known Duchamp Mona Lisa with moustache and beard, LHOOQ. The exhibit is there till May 7th and I highly recommend it. My kids, interestingly, did not react as I expected; I thought the younger one would be interested and the older one bored, but the younger one found the music too jarring and the art too "stupid" (which it is in most cases, but purposefully so -- a rejection of representational art) while the younger one really got the political underpinnings.

Since we were already in the National Gallery, we walked from the East Building to the West Building to see the Cezanne in Provence exhibit (it's the 100th anniversary of Cezanne's death, so he gets a retrospective). He's not my favorite of the impressionist/post-impressionist crowd by any stretch, but he is kind of the link between them and the modern artists, so we probably should have seen that before the Dada exhibit but were afraid the kids would get restless and refuse to go back to the East Building. I love series of paintings that examine the same scene in different light, different seasons, different weather, etc., and he painted several of those at Mont Sainte-Victoire. I also was not familiar with his watercolors, and they are magnificent.

I actually managed to get work done today! Just the site columns and a few paragraphs of Erik Jendresen swearing that there really might be an eleventh Star Trek feature film possibly someday maybe, but hey, it's something (and the kids were happy to get two hours to play video games uninterrupted with their friends, heh). In the evening, of course, we watched The West Wing. It actually felt somewhat anticlimactic, I think because the funeral itself was at the very beginning and was more powerful than anything that came afterward. Of course political life must go on and Matt and Josh taking all those meetings were necessary developments, but there wasn't quite the sense of missing Leo that I expected, and the humor of Danny and Josh being unable to get laid because CJ and Donna, who are friends, can't admit to each other that they're sleeping with them respectively just seemed weird at the wake. Jed telling one funny story after another about Leo to fill the void, I get that, and even wanting sex to avoid thinking/feeling too much, I get that too, but the way it's played for laughs seems a little...I don't know. I didn't feel good about it, and while I have been ambivalent about Josh/Donna for a long time, I do not want to be ambivalent about CJ/Danny which I have thought was a great idea for years!

Okay, there are some great moments. Matt insisting that he has to talk to all candidates for Speaker of the House, even the one with no chance, and when he asks the guy if he'd support lobbying reform, the dialogue goes, "There's a perception that Fields is a..." "You want it, you got it!" "...White House lackey." Am tired of Amy again being the token one-issue feminist, make a woman VP whether or not she's the best person for the job or good for the administration, party, etc., but I do like how she talks to Matt, even though he then talks down to her...I do not get what Josh ever saw in her but at the same time Donna right now is being such a wet blanket that I'd almost feel better if she acted more like Amy! Then there's that classic Josh/Matt moment: "If you're looking for a 'yes' man, I'm not it. I'll be out in the lobby with Amy Gardner." What amuses me is that the issue isn't really the issue, as it were, or Josh would have come out and asked Matt's intentions concerning the Speaker. His feelings are hurt over the transition team stuff. His crush has wounded him!

But I really wanted Josh to have to go off somewhere and cry about Leo at some point. Didn't anyone from Jed on down have to lock himself in a bathroom to cry? I mean, CJ and Abbey get to do it in public. But the others. Sigh. Maybe I would feel this anticlimax less if I didn't know the show was in its final weeks, and more importantly, if John Spencer were still alive and that storyline felt more artificial, less real. The fantasy bipartisan administration is definitely artificial! And I am going to miss all these characters so much.

Monday is the kids' last day of spring break, so my last day of trying to keep up with their entertainment schedule! And the Wizards have made the playoffs, whoo!