Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Poem for Wednesday

A Subaltern's Love Song
By John Betjeman

Miss J. Hunter Dunn, Miss J. Hunter Dunn,
Furnish'd and burnish'd by Aldershot sun,
What strenuous singles we played after tea,
We in the tournament - you against me!

Love-thirty, love-forty, oh! weakness of joy,
The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy,
With carefullest carelessness, gaily you won,
I am weak from your loveliness, Joan Hunter Dunn.

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
How mad I am, sad I am, glad that you won,
The warm-handled racket is back in its press,
But my shock-headed victor, she loves me no less.

Her father's euonymus shines as we walk,
And swing past the summer-house, buried in talk,
And cool the verandah that welcomes us in
To the six-o'clock news and a lime-juice and gin.

The scent of the conifers, sound of the bath,
The view from my bedroom of moss-dappled path,
As I struggle with double-end evening tie,
For we dance at the Golf Club, my victor and I.

On the floor of her bedroom lie blazer and shorts,
And the cream-coloured walls are be-trophied with sports,
And westering, questioning settles the sun,
On your low-leaded window, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

The Hillman is waiting, the light's in the hall,
The pictures of Egypt are bright on the wall,
My sweet, I am standing beside the oak stair
And there on the landing's the light on your hair.

By roads "not adopted", by woodlanded ways,
She drove to the club in the late summer haze,
Into nine-o'clock Camberley, heavy with bells
And mushroomy, pine-woody, evergreen smells.

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
I can hear from the car park the dance has begun,
Oh! Surrey twilight! importunate band!
Oh! strongly adorable tennis-girl's hand!

Around us are Rovers and Austins afar,
Above us the intimate roof of the car,
And here on my right is the girl of my choice,
With the tilt of her nose and the chime of her voice.

And the scent of her wrap, and the words never said,
And the ominous, ominous dancing ahead.
We sat in the car park till twenty to one
And now I'm engaged to Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.


A poem excerpted in Michael Dirda's review of A.N. Wilson's Betjeman: A Life in Sunday's Washington Post Book World. "There should be a warning sticker on the cover of this biography..."Anglophiles Only!" writes Dirda, who likes Wilson's style and warns that the book "readily assumes familiarity with the Brideshead Generation of writers and eccentrics (Evelyn Waugh, Kenneth Clark, Lord Berners)" in addition to British television in the 1950s. "Sir John Betjeman represents a familiar type: a public nostalgist for a world we have lost. As a poet and architectural preservationist, he loathed our crass modern society's noise, vulgarity and gimcrack ugliness: 'The magic-lantern is broken and we laugh at the mission hymns,' as he wrote in one of his poems ('The Ballad of George R. Sims'). And yet he attained immense fame through his journalism, travel guides (sponsored by Shell Oil!) and frequent appearances on radio (735 times) and television (494 times). By the end of his life, he was not only England's poet laureate but also one of the most beloved public figures in the country, half Walter Cronkite, half Walt Disney."

Dirda cites "A Subaltern's Love Song" as evidence Betjeman's lack of concern that his poetry might be regarded as "little better than a nursery jingle or a Hallmark greeting" as well as "why it was so popular with ordinary people." (This poem, ironically, seems to go quite well with the movie I watched earlier.) Though a devout Anglican, and bisexual at least in his youth, he regularly fell in love with women and cheated on his wife, ending up having a long affair with a lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret and spending his later years with her.

Had a relatively quiet day indoors in the cold, with only a couple of ventures out to pick up lunch with (who brought me cock soup...yes really, though we had Thai takeout for lunch) and to drive son to Hebrew school. In between, and I watched Match Point and Crimes and Misdemeanors back to back, which is how it made sense to me to watch them since she had never seen either before, the former is pretty much a remake of the latter set in London rather than New York, with younger characters and opera instead of Schubert. I have written about this before for the Green Man Review, which I mention not only in case anyone wants to read it but to remind myself that I have owed a review of Happy Feet for that publication for weeks!

My editor wanted an article on Chris Doohan, James Doohan's son, begging and pleading fans on his MySpace page for a write-in campaign to get him cast as Scotty in Star Trek XI (note to J.J. Abrams: this casting choice is a guaranteed way to make me not see the movie). I flatly refused to write it and instead wrote two articles on two actors who are actually 1) working and 2) of interest to Star Trek fans: Alexander Siddig, who on top of 24 has signed on to a new movie (which starts shooting next month...does this mean he will not survive the season vs. Jack Bauer?), and Kate Mulgrew, who on top of appearing in the world premiere of a play next month is also doing a one-night Shakespeare reading and writing for a book on Alzheimer's. In fact, even the tragedy of the Hubble Telescope's main camera would be more relevant to Star Trek news than every child of a Trek star trying to make a buck off the franchise. And yes, that includes Eugene Roddenberry, Jr.

Guh. (ETA: Oops! Warning: Nearly naked Daniel Radcliffe. May not be considered work-safe, though is respectable source material.) *goes to Hell, goes directly to Hell, does not pass Go, does not collect $200* I will not be seeing that when I am in England in April, as I will have my children with me, but hopefully we will see the remains of an ancient village found near Stonehenge, since we will certainly be on Salisbury Plain. Also we are hoping to go to The Prisoner village in Wales, so we watched the first episode with the kids tonight -- it's been more than a decade since I last saw it, was most entertained -- and then Boston Legal, where one couple I adore got together and another hopefully will!

Bella shows up at Crane, Poole & Schmidt covered in paint, where both Denny and Shirley observe that she looks blue. She claims to have been attacked by vicious eco-terrorists who resent the animal experiments carried on by her company that markets makeup for robust women, which she says is necessary to make sure the makeup is safe for humans and these "psycho liberal thugs" are interfering. Shirley doesn't want to work with Denny on the case, leading Bella to warn that if she marries Denny, she'll get a stake in the firm, but Shirley says that's only if someone does not drive that stake through Bella's heart and Shirley firmly believes she could kick Bella's over-the-top ass. She does end up working on the case, however, after Denny learns that the opposition is being represented by Bethany, who asks the judge (Judge Poopycock) if he's an imbecile when he asks if she's a midget. Bethany is vicious in portraying Bella as a vicious torturer of animals, less because Bethany actually cares about the issues involved than because Bethany wants to hurt Bella because of Denny.

Alan declares that he thinks he should get a turn with Denise, leading Brad to call him a perv, which in turn leads Alan to tell Brad that he's not Denise's only friend with benefits. Naturally Brad suspects that she's sleeping with Jeffrey, and when Denise won't answer a direct question, he puts invisible dye that shows up under infrared light on Denise's hands so he can see where those hands have been on Jeffrey (though he has to get Jeffrey to step into the closet to use his special infrared flashlight, allowing Jeffrey to quip that he didn't know Brad had come out of the closet). Denise's hands have been all over Jeffrey, and Brad reluctantly tells her that he has to break off this friends with benefits arrangement because he's just too old fashioned.

Clarence asks whether Claire is one of the women out there who might go out with him, as she told him before there would be; then he puts a bag over his head when she doesn't answer right away. She agrees to go out with him, and when he says over dinner that he thinks they have a lot in common -- his hard shell is Clarice or Oprah, but she is just defensive -- she tells him that her father was physically abusive and she has never said this to anyone before who was not a professional therapist. He admits that he had imaginary friends as a child and asks whether he's too weird, but she says he's just weird enough. Meanwhile, when Vanessa the new lawyer asks Alan why he's always checking her and every other woman out -- "I'm sure there's a long very complicated answer" -- and he tells her a kind of long, pathetic (and not very satisfying IMO) story about not having been able to catch his idealized high school fantasy girl in a yellow dress at a dance, so now he looks for the one who got away.

Denny questions the man whose group is accused of dyeing Bella, pointing out that they've been charged with covering people in red paint just for wearing synthetic fur which the defendant says is because even fake furs encourage the fashion. Bethany insists that Bella isn't doing cancer research but making money, and when Shirley notes that Denny doesn't seem to care about winning the case, he explains that he's secretly still in love with Bethany and wants to break up with Bella. Soon after, Bella tells Shirley that she has never liked her because Denny always loved Shirley more, but now she wants Shirley's approval, in the hope that that will earn her Denny's approval.

When Bethany closes by noting that Revlon, Avon and Clinique have stopped animal testing but Big Bella is still torturing rabbits, Shirley offers a rambling closing about how people claim to love animals but have no qualms about racing horses whose bones can't withstand such a pounding and how breast and hair implants are our great passion as Americans. The bunnies died for their country, she concludes: "All we can really hope for at this point is to save face." The judge says he doesn't believe in this moisturizer poopycock, but the man accused of painting Bella must stay away from her; his group, however, can continue to protest outside her place of business, which makes Bella unhappy as well as upset that Denny didn't tell her Shirley was a communist. She's even more upset when Denny tells her that he's not over Bethany but says she will put her daughter's happiness above her own, asking Denny please not to hurt Bethany. With Alan's coaching, Denny then makes a speech to Bethany about his willingness to right his wrongs, declaring his love.

Paul has planned an office costume party to improve work morale, telling everyone to come dressed as someone they admire. He comes as Einstein, dancing with Shirley who comes as Diane Sawyer...though she is quite angry to discover that Alan has come as Shirley herself, even though she expressly told him not to. (Alan claims that in fact he's supposed to be the Shirley doll.) Denny shows up as Dick Cheney with Bethany as Danny DeVito. Clarence dresses as Oprah, but is forgiven by Claire who kisses him anyway after saying she should have come as Tom Cruise so she could go home and jump on his couch. Denise comes as Jenifer Aniston, stabbing an Angelina-as-Lara-Croft doll; Vanessa dresses in a yellow dress to play Alan's fantasy girl. Then Brad and Jeffrey arrive, having committed the ultimate faux pas: they are both dressed as Buzz Lightyear! For the rest of the night they argue about who is the better Buzz, and when the ejector wings come out, Paul forces them to take their duel outside.

On the balcony, Denny can't take his eyes off Alan-as-Shirley, despite Alan's repeated attempts to rebuff his interest in a quiet drink somewhere: "You're not getting in this outfit!" But Denny tells Alan how he knew Shirley was The One for him: one night while they were making love, she recited Proust to him. "I thought she was possessed." (Down far below at street level, Brad and Jeffrey are still fighting as the Dueling Buzzes.) Alan won't let Denny kiss him as Shirley but agrees to just one dance, so Denny can waltz down memory lane. They fight over who leads while "As Time Goes By" starts playing. Denny says that Alan is really very much like Shirley, only his lumps are in the wrong place, but Alan insists that the only lump in the wrong place at the moment is Denny's own. They wonder what people watching would think, but Alan says that if they're regular viewers, they're used to it. Now THAT is a perfect Alan moment, not some silly adolescent fantasy being blamed for all his angst and confusion with women!

Each year at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs, a statue is painted and dressed to resemble the horse that won the Derby that year. I took this photo there last summer on our Penguin Tour of the Midwest. The horse is Barbaro, and the scoreboard behind him reflects the win-place-show standings and odds. There is also a statue dressed in the colors of jockey Edgar Prado, who rode Barbaro to victory.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Poem for Tuesday

Before Disaster
By Yvor Winters

Evening traffic homeward burns
Swift and even on the turns,
Drifting weight in triple rows,
Fixed relation and repose.
This one edges out and by,
Inch by inch with steady eye.
But should error be increased,
Mass and moment are released;
Matter loosens, flooding blind,
Levels drivers to its kind.
Ranks of nations thus descend,
Watchful, to a stormy end.
By a moment's calm beguiled,
I have got a wife and child.
Fool and scoundrel guide the State.
Peace is whore to Greed and Hate.
Nowhere may I turn to flee:
Action is security.
Treading change with savage heel,
We must live or die by steel.


Another from Sunday's Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. Robert Pinsky describes Winters as a moralist writing in 1933 about the rise of European fascism in this poem that "compares international jockeying toward war with the then-new phenomenon of cars speeding down the freeway: 'Evening traffic homeward burns/ Swift and even on the turns,/ Drifting weight in triple rows,/ Fixed relation and repose.'" Winters, he adds, "is willing to use archaic language, broad abstractions and blunt gestures to make his point. For instance, Winters makes his overarching simile blatantly explicit: 'Ranks of nations thus descend,' he writes, 'Watchful, to a stormy end.' He is also willing to use large, sweeping moral terms. In one of the recurring turns of poetry, it sometimes draws energy from its deepest, ancient roots in order to shout warning at the defects or blindnesses of a present moment."

Stayed home today to avoid the cold, though it ended up not being too bad...mid-thirties, and tomorrow's supposed to be back in the forties, though tomorrow morning it may be in the teens. Took a walk and watched the squirrels panicking about the sudden chill, wrote an article about the upcoming Trek comic in the original Klingon (I have the edition of Hamlet that Pocket Books published in the original Klingon several years ago, and while I cannot read it, it is one of my favorite books not in English), watched the news on the death of Barbaro which has saddened my children, who will never be racing fans now, which I think is just as well. Made an attempt to catch up on weekend mail but so far it's hopeless -- I haven't even started on the comments on Harry Potter in American translation.

Went to bed too early last night to talk about the SAG awards -- I care much more that Forest Whitaker and Helen Mirren win, and even Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson, than I care about Best Picture (forgetting how amazing Whitaker in particular is, it would be awesome to have three of four acting awards go to African-Americans). I was busy watching Daniel Radcliffe on Extras, which everyone I know already watched on The Leaky Cauldron but I wanted to see on the big TV. That wasn't actually his mother playing his mum, was it? Diana Rigg is one of my goddesses so the opportunity to watch him hit on her was beyond priceless -- "Do you still have your catsuit from The Avengers?" And since all the celebrities on that show play our worst fantasies about them (Orlando Bloom as arrogant buffoon, David Bowie writing songs at the dinner table), Diana gets to lecture Daniel on his poor grammar and worse manners!

Loved Heroes even though it seems like the writing is less tight than it was when the series first started; in particular they're not exciting me with Niki, Micah and DL, which is a shame because all of them are really good performers, particularly the little boy. Christopher Eccleston totally distracted me from almost everything else, though: "Empath means you're a pain my arse, seen very sure about this pending apocalypse." And Claire and her birth mother! Who can light cigarettes with her fingers! Guess we know how she survived the fire. Am still betting Claire's father is her biological father; it would explain how he had both the time and the resources to do all the stuff he's done, even if he's a total moron when it comes to Sylar. Am bummed we only got two seconds of George Takei but happy he will so surely be back!

And courtesy the fabulous , who is entitled to all the good fannish karma in the world, we watched the first episode of Torchwood! I already loved Captain Jack, but I must admit that my very favorite things about the Russell T. Davies shows I've seen are the women. Gwen is fabulous, and I had no idea Indira Varma was in the pilot because I never made it that far into the episode! Am quite bummed that Suzie killed herself -- between this and Rome, I'm going to associate that with her now! -- but between the alien toys and the Cardiff jokes, I had a great time with the first hour. We decided to save the Sex Alien till tomorrow! And if Jack has angst because he can't die, and the Doctor has angst because he can't die, why aren't they married? Anyway, thank you so much again, !

Here in honor of the cold weather are a few photos just of flowers from the greenhouse at Wheaton Regional Park:

Younger son's school found and sent off his forms for the magnet program that they had managed to lose, yay! And here's a quick link to, the anti-mountaintop removal resource center, which I didn't know about until today (I love the EcoRebbe!). This touches my own state and is a devastating situation both for the mountainous regions and for the rest of us since global warming is a direct consequence of overuse of coal.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Poem for Monday

Three Translations of Virgil

By Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

. . . O queen, it is thy will
I should renew a woe can not be told,
How that the Greeks did spoile and overthrow
The Phrygian wealth and wailful realm of Troy,
Those ruthfull things that I myself beheld,
And whereof no small part fell to my share.
Which to express who could refrain from teres?
What Myrmidon, or yet what Dolopes?
What stern Ulysses waged soldiar?
And loe, moist night now from the welkin falles,
And starres declining council us to rest.

By John Dryden

Great queen, what you command me to relate
Renews the sad remembrance of our fate:
An empire from its old foundations rent
And every woe the Trojans underwent;
A peopled city made a desert place;
All that I saw and part of which I was
Not e'en the hardest of our foes could hear,
Nor stern Ulysses tell, without a tear.
And now the latter watch of wasting night,
And setting stars to kindly rest invite.

By Robert Fagles

. . . Sorrow, unspeakable sorrow,
my queen, you ask me to bring to life once more,
how the Greeks uprooted Troy in all her power,
our kingdom mourned forever. What horrors I saw,
a tragedy where I played a leading role myself.
Who could tell such things -- not even a Myrmidon,
a Dolopian, or comrade of iron-hearted Ulysses --
and still refrain from tears? And now, too,
the dank night is sweeping down from the sky
and the setting stars incline our heads to sleep.


From Dick Davis' review of The Aeneid, a new translation by Fagles recently released by Viking, from Sunday's Washington Post Book World. "A new translation of the Roman epic collides with recent trends in English," reads the sub-header, which struck me as particularly interesting at the moment given that I spent the morning following the latest trend in gratuitous Harry Potter fic insults, which involve objecting that one simply cannot read a freely available, written-for-fun story that contains a word too "American" for her taste in proper British English. (I had no idea that British English had become such a consistent, uniform that a result of BBC Radio and TV in everyone's home wiping out the more extreme regionalisms of the Pygmalion era and before, or has the UK finally created its own Academie to prevent the sort of spontaneous linguistic evolution that makes English so rich and complicated to study, both in the UK itself and in its numerous former colonies?)

Anyway, now that I know better than to try to read The Aeneid at all, since it's not in my native language and any translator might slip up and use a colloquial phrase so utterly inappropriate as to throw me out of the story, I figured I should pay more attention to this review, which finds that the "catch-all form [Fagles] has chosen simply does not lend itself to sustained heroic narrative." Davis calls Virgil the first and greatest of the court poets, Emperor Augustus's favorite (perhaps because The Aeneid makes him look so good), and which is unapologetically martial in its view of the necessity of conquest. "We are dealing not merely with warfare itself, but with war in the service of a conquering occupying power and an imperial family," writes Davis. "The Aeneid has left strong footprints in the soil of English poetry," nowhere more apparently than in the Earl of Surrey's mid-1500s translations. "In order to translate Virgil, Surrey invented blank verse and, at a stroke, invested the form with the associations of nobility, not to say sublimity, that it has retained for more than 500 years." As translations go, "for pathos and sheer beauty, Surrey wins hands down; his lines about the declining stars are Shakespearean in their charm. He also has a certain dry efficiency that can be very satisfying."

Dryden, on the other hand wrote in the late 17th century, with English imperialism rising to the height of its powers, "and virtually canonized the heroic couplet as the primary narrative form for the next hundred years...Dryden lets much of the pathos and complication go by with merely a nod (the declining stars don't count for much, and he paraphrases away those pesky Myrmidons and Dolopians), but he has a felicitously exact way of laying out the essentials." For better or worse, notes Davis, modern readers "probably now lack the Victorian sense that an empire (or at least our empire) is on balance a good thing," plus there is no longer a consensus that meter in poetry is a valuable, inherent part of the narrative. Since World War II in heroic poetry, "when the action is tense, you bunch the stressed syllables; when it's less tense, you have more sprinkles." So in these three versions of Aeneas' response to Dido's request that he describe his travels beginning with the fall of Troy, Fagles comes out "hit and miss" for Davis: "The repetition of 'sorrow' is certainly effective (never mind that it's not there in the Latin), and 'unspeakable' is terrific (for the Latin 'Infandum'). But the metrical sprawl produces moments of real bathos; 'a tragedy where I played a leading role myself' is far weaker than the equivalent lines in Surrey or Dryden, and the declining stars passage comes across as overwritten and too intent on provocative effect ('dank,' 'sweeping') its best, it can produce beautifully arresting moments among the bumbling and bathos."

While I'm on the subject of Virgil and empire, I might as well talk about Rome and Battlestar Galactica first and Epic Movie second. Am thinking maybe I should watch The Dresden Files with the kids at 9 and watch Rome on On Demand some other night, because I really don't like having them coming in the room when that airs...between the teen boy prostitutes, the bloody onscreen murders and the numerous other things they don't need to see even in passing, this is not a great 9 p.m. hour for us. Of course, it does have some moments so wonderful that I get distracted...Cicero to Antony, "You're Rome's Helen of Troy!" And the Jews teaching their kids to read Hebrew and Pullo not being able to leave Vorenus no matter how insane Vorenus gets. I am going to be very upset if Atia dies, not because she doesn't deserve it but because I want her around when Antony gets it on with Octavia! And that sleazy kid...ugh. I hope Vorenus ultimately gives him what he deserves.

BSG again had enough great moments to make up for the storylines I don't like (yeah, I know, I'm a horrible sexist Dirk Benedict lover but if I didn't like Starbuck first season or last season then no way am I going to like her this season!) Baltar, however, rocks. I mean, he's pathetic and despicable and I can't even really feel sorry for him, but the acting is so good that watching him is endlessly compelling. And Roslin and Adama! Were they about to go to bed together at the end of that episode?! Or do they often sit around with her lying on a bed and him sitting on it and her stroking his leg and I just never noticed before? I know, I swore I didn't care and I really don't want to care but ohhhyes, give me THAT romance and the heck with the "of course we have to stay with our spouses so we can continue to angst over each other and eventually cheat with each other some more and drag this idiocy out for more episodes!" quadrangle. ETA: Television Without Pity's recaplet notes that the scene where Roslin interrogates Caprica Six is cut so that Lee and Tyrol can bitch about their wives. Yeah, I really despise that entire storyline...

Again I watched Dresden Files with less attention than the previous two shows, nicely filmed and well acted but just not grabbing me at that gut level although I like the relationship between both Harry and Bob (kind of twisted Buffy and Giles with a bit of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan thrown in) and Harry and Connie (though the dialogue at the end was so Clark/Lana that I wanted to cry). Will probably watch more carefully if this does become our 9 p.m. show -- even this is a bit violent for my taste in family entertainment -- plus I have the first episode free via iTunes so the kids can see that. And I love all the shots of Chicago...they make me nostalgic!

Epic Movie...okay, if you respect me for my strong feminist stance in my Star Trek reviews and stuff, could you please stop reading right now? Because this film is made for pre-pubescent boys, which means that there are boob jokes and pee jokes and booty jokes that make Night at the Museum seem sophisticated and mature. The movie is exactly what you'd expect...a conglomeration of jokes Mad Magazine has already made about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Da Vinci Code, Pirates of the Caribbean, The X-Men, The Lord of the Rings, Nacho Libre, Borat, Snakes on a Plane, Harry Potter, Click, Superman, Star Wars, Cribs and various smaller targets like Brangelina, Mel Gibson, Michael Jackson and Paris Hilton. Oh, and lots of MTV babes with boobs bouncing in slow motion...did I mention the boobs? And I howled, absolutely howled, through most of the movie. It's very short, barely an hour and a half (stay through the credits!) so none of the sillier jokes have time to get bogged down, and the casting of faux famous people is spot-on. It helps immensely to watch in a theater completely packed mostly with teenagers who are laughing their heads off.

Several running jokes are superbly done: "Jack Swallows" *snerk* on the Hamster Wheel of Doom; Fred Willard's "Aslo" (half-man, half-lion, all total skank and definitely not Jesus metaphor because when his stunt double dies, he does not rise again); Crispin Glover's on-the-nose portrayal of murderous child molestor Willy Wonka a la Johnny Depp; Harry Potter accidentally killing Hagrid, McGonagall and Dumbledore while teaching Peter to duel; the "White Bitch" getting her name because during her two terms as leader of Gnarnia, she has banned gay marriage, started an unpopular war and dropped the ball on hurricane relief, plus she's mean to black people. For me the movie would have been worth seeing for the coronation scene, where the quadruplets -- one of whom is ostensibly British, one ostensibly Hispanic, one African-American and one the rehead who played Charlie on Heroes -- are announced to their subjects: "King Peter the Brave, Queen Susan the Just, King Edward the Loyal and Queen Lucy the Dumbshit." Okay, it was probably partly watching my kids falling out of their seats in hysterics that made this so funny, but it really made my day! "So lame the hair of Tom," Magneto having a problem with pots and pans sticking to him and The Love Boat appearing in the pirate I said, go in with your Stupid Goggles on and forget that you could have written all these jokes yourself.

"Family" by Ann Ruppert in the greenhouse at Brookside Gardens' annual art show.

"Trio" by Ann Ruppert.

"Look to the Sky" by Paul Pincus.

"Source Direction" by Tommy Smith.

There were several hanging mobiles and I'm not sure which one was by which artist, but they added interesting color to the greenery.

These fanatics who believe that global warming is both good and necessary for the Second Coming? Is it very, very wrong that I wish they would all die and leave the planet safe for my children and everyone else's? I don't care if they want to distrust Al Gore because he's Al Gore, but "even if there is global warming, it's wonderful" just makes me sick. Since they believe in this crap it's too bad someone can't unleash some Old Testament justice on them...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Question for US Harry Potter Readers

...from someone who first read Harry Potter as children's books to my own children and wasn't all that impressed by them, particularly Chamber of Secrets:

At what point did you discover that the versions published by Scholastic were different than the versions published in the UK and countries that speak The Queen's English? Before you ever read them? After reading but before you became involved with fandom? Between books 5 and 6 when it made the news? When you were informed that a word in your fic which is also in your version of the books was unacceptable to a Canadian reader?

Did it affect anything for you...did you buy/read the UK books in their entirety, look up specific bits of text, or not particularly worry/care? Did you feel that Scholastic had robbed you as an adult reader, or had robbed millions of US children of the unedited version? If you have children, which versions did you give them or read to them?

Do you think this is likely an issue outside of organized fandom...that there are readers, teachers, parents and kids who strongly feel that either both versions or just the UK versions should be available in the US? Does anyone know whether Scholastic has been asked/told that maybe they could make more money selling the UK editions, or if there's a licensing reason they can't?

Get Critical, Little Review and Louise Fletcher Appreciation Page Updates

TV Review: Star Trek's "The Savage Curtain"

Art: Fannish Holiday Cards

Louise Fletcher will play Mrs. Wilson in A Dennis the Menace Christmas. Also, there are now photos from Fat Rose and Squeaky on the site.

Poem for Sunday

The Ballad of the Girly Man
By Charles Bernstein

        —For Felix

The truth is hidden in a veil of tears
The scabs of the mourners grow thick with fear
A democracy once proposed
Is slimmed and grimed again
By men with brute design
Who prefer hate to rime

Complexity's a four-letter word
For those who count by nots and haves
Who revile the facts of Darwin
To worship the truth according to Halliburton

The truth is hidden in a veil of tears
The scabs of the mourners grow thick with fear

Thugs from hell have taken freedom's store
The rich get richer, the poor die quicker
& the only god that sanctions that
Is no god at all but rhetorical crap

So be a girly man
& take a gurly stand
Sing a gurly song
& dance with a girly sarong

Poetry will never win the war on terror
But neither will error abetted by error

We girly men are not afraid
Of uncertainty or reason or interdependence
We think before we fight, then think some more
Proclaim our faith in listening, in art, in compromise

So be a girly man
& sing this gurly song
Sissies & proud
That we would never lie our way to war

The girly men killed christ
So the platinum DVD says
The Jews & blacks & gays
Are still standing in the way

We're sorry we killed your god
A long, long time ago
But each dead solider in Iraq
Kills the god inside, the god that's still not dead.

The truth is hidden in a veil of tears
The scabs of the mourners grow thick with fear

So be a girly man
& sing a gurly song
Take a gurly stand
& dance with a girly sarong

Thugs from hell have taken freedom's store
The rich get richer, the poor die quicker
& the only god that sanctions that
Is no god at all but rhetorical crap

So be a girly man
& sing this gurly song
Sissies & proud
That we would never lie our way to war

The scabs of the mourners grow thick with fear
The truth is hidden in a veil of tears


From Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World. "Charles Bernstein writes both prose and poetry about poetry, sometimes brilliantly, in ways calculated to upset the middlebrow and thwart the bland," writes Pinsky. "The more you like the poetic equivalent of a nice tune, easy to hum, the more Bernstein means to disrupt your complacency. Nearly all his poems are about poetry. Some are mere donnish jokes, but sometimes his noodling gets at moral meanings on a broad social range." Bernstein takes the title of both the poem above and his latest book from Arnold Schwarzenegger's use of the phrase, "a comic cliché, repeatedly echoed, [that] no longer sounds offensive -- drained of resonance. The ugly, bullying term has been dulled by attention so automatic that it amounts to inattention."

Bernstein, adds Pinsky, "does the opposite of that, peeling away customary dullness...exposes it afresh, and dances a savage, mock-innocent burlesque with it, full of repetitions, corrective ridicule and parody, including the hurdy-gurdy refrain." The term "gurly," explains Pinsky, "is an old Scots word for 'growling,' and 'gurl' is an old spelling of a word that once meant both 'girl' and 'boy.' The poem's outspoken political language is sneakily mock-naive. Bernstein deliberately writes with the crudity of a beginner, and with an ironic distance from that crudity, though he means everything he says. That's a complicated process, and a complicated conception, but the poem's actual lines are immediate and -- phrase by phrase -- uncomplicated: 'A democracy once proposed/ Is slimmed and grimed again/ By men with brute design/ Who prefer hate to rime.'"

Book World this week also has two cover stories on hip-hop and and popular culture, plus a review of Elisabeth Ladenson's Dirt for Art's Sake, a book about literary trials from Madame Bovary to Lolita which of course includes Margaret Anderson's trial for publishing Ulysses in The Little Review (Ladenson's book's title is taken from the later trial in the 1930s, when Random House won the right to publish the novel in the US since the judge found no "dirt for dirt's sake" in it). And there's a new translation of The Aeneid reviewed, too.

It was much warmer than expected -- not sure precisely how warm, but at least high '50s -- so after older son got home from working at Hebrew school and younger son finished a top secret project he was working on involving a shoebox, some Legos and a photo of the cats, we went to Brookside Gardens at Wheaton Regional Park. (Do other people's children create creatures out of Legos, give them names like "Bitey," then leave them lying on the floor so that when they are accidentally stepped on by cats or brothers, they must cry out, "You killed Bitey!" and sulk?) Brookside was lovely. We went first to the nature center, where all the bees were out for the season and the snakes were hiding under paper but there were turtles and toads and fish. Then we went through the greenhouses, which are having a contemporary sculpture show and weren't particularly warmer than the air outside, with a lot of tulips and amaryllis and the permanent big tropical greens. We also walked around the gardens outside, where there was still ice on the ponds but there were also ducks and geese waddling around, and many of the lights from the winter light show had not yet been taken down.

"I Love New York" by Irma Spencer in the greenhouse at Brookside Gardens' annual art show in Wheaton Regional Park. (2005 photos here.)

"Male Torso" and "Female Torso" by Betty Figlure.

"Wildernest" by Gitte Kolind.

"Free Bird" by Eric Borg & Mark White. (Son was not pleased that it had apparently caught a snake to eat!)

And , this one is for you: "White Knight Charger" by William Ackerman.

Since we were up in Wheaton, we stopped at Rodman's and got P&G Tips, shortbread and some fruit, then came home and had tacos for dinner. Spent the evening watching Young Frankenstein on cable and howling; I don't think that one's quite as magnificent as Blazing Saddles and High Anxiety, maybe because I'm more familiar with Westerns and Hitchcock than classic horror movies, but between "Abby Normal" and "Destiny! Destiny! No escaping that for me!" and Frau Blücher and the horse, "Could be raining" and the enormous schwanzstucker and "Puttin' on the Ritz," there are still a great many hysterical moments!

Sunday we may be going to see Epic Movie as the kids are demanding much for my chances of seeing Dreamgirls before the Academy Awards (because my next grownup movie is definitely Notes on a Scandal). But this is all dependent on it not snowing overmuch!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Poem for Saturday

By Wilfred Owen

Move him into the sun-
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds-
Woke once the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
-O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?


My younger son's school is apparently trying to drive me insane. Either that or someone there has a huge grudge against my family, but I can't imagine who. I got a letter (snail mail, in this era of phone calls and e-mails) from one of the magnet programs telling me that they had never received any of my son's recommendations -- not from his teachers, not from his guidance counselor. I know that his classroom teacher and guidance counselor at least filled out the forms, because the guidance counselor had lost hers and called to ask whether we had another and we had printed it out and rushed it over the day it was due. Somehow it never actually got sent, though. Now I must have everything sent again on Monday, assuming that all the recommendations are in the online database where they're supposed to be (they need the teachers' passwords to retrieve them and god help us if the science teacher has time to revise hers). And of course they'll be nearly a month late.

Yeah, it was not a terrific Friday. I ended up with a migraine, though I couldn't say how much is stress, how much is from having too much fatty, salty food quite possibly containing MSG yesterday and how much is weather and cycle related (I also didn't sleep well...whenever the heat is on round the clock, as it was yesterday because it was so cold, my skin gets very dry and itches and since I'm allergic to ingredients even in products marketed for sensitive skin, putting anything on it often makes it worse). I wrote a mediocre review of the worse-than-mediocre "The Savage Curtain", plus site columns saying goodbye to our book reviewer, and had dinner with my parents, homemade crab cakes which went a long way to restoring my mood. My mother had also found a watch pillow for younger son, so at least we had no hysteria at bedtime over this all-important issue.

: Cool
1. How did you feel yesterday?
2. What kind of obstacles do you face? Sloth. Well, and the feeling that it's not worth working my ass off when it's so hard to change anything.
3. Who is a good friend? The people who are there for you on your most whiny, self-indulgent days. Most friends are there for the really awful days and for the really good ones, but the ones that are just kind of cranky, frustrating and enervating are harder to get through without good friends.
4. What is your fondest memory? I don't know if I can pick one fondest memory! Younger son's naming ceremony, which was at my parents' house with lots of their friends and my friends in attendance, is a good one.
5. Does time always kill pain? There are losses that no amount of time can heal.

: Jobs
1. Would you rather have a fun job that doesn't pay well or a boring job that does?
Have been making this choice since college and have always gone for fun job that doesn't pay well.
2. Would you sacrifice your morals for a job? No way. No job is worth that.
3. Would you ever take a job that requires you to be in costume? Hell yes! Though I'm allergic to a lot of makeup, so a job that requires a lot of makeup for a lot of hours is probably out of the question.
4. What is your fantasy job? Editing the Great American Novel.
5. Would you like fries with that? I'd prefer baked potato or mashed redskin potatoes.

: What five nitpicky things do you wish writers in your fandom(s) would get right?
I don't really have any...I'm not really nitpicky that way, characterization matters a lot more to me than whether they're calling Trelawney Sibyll or Sybill and which side of Hogsmeade the lake is on. And don't even get me started on Tolkien fans who insist that one should be able to recite the details of The Silmarillion before one has any business writing LOTR fic, or O'Brian fans who think one has to have memorized nautical tactics of the 1800s before one can write M&C fic.

In the evening we put on Man of La Mancha, which is on On Demand till the end of the month. It's not a very good adaptation of the stage musical, but Peter O'Toole is very enjoyable despite not being the singer Richard Kiley is on the Broadway cast album, and Sophia Loren is quite moving as Aldonza even though they cut "What Do You Want of Me?" ("Why do you batter at walls that won't break?/Why do you give when it's natural to take?/Where do you see all the good that you see,/And what do you want of me?") and her voice can't compare to Joan Diener's.

The Kansas Chapel at the Daughters of the American Revolution headquarters, adjacent to the museum, based on the Sargent Chapel at the Central Congregational Church in Topeka with sunflower windows (in honor of the Kansas state flower) constructed from stained glass panels removed during a renovation of Wichita's Carnegie Library.

We're such wimps, we aren't going to the anti-war protest downtown because by the time older son is back from working at Hebrew school, the Metro will be crazy and we don't want to get stuck in the cold. I did send in my petition though!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Poem for Friday

Composed by the Side of Grasmere Lake
By William Wordsworth

Clouds, lingering yet, extend in solid bars
Through the grey west; and lo! these waters, steeled
By breezeless air to smoothest polish, yield
A vivid repetition of the stars;
Jove, Venus, and the ruddy crest of Mars
Amid his fellows beauteously revealed
At happy distance from earth's groaning field,
Where ruthless mortals wage incessant wars.
Is it a mirror?--or the nether Sphere
Opening to view the abyss in which she feeds
Her own calm fires?--But list! a voice is near;
Great Pan himself low-whispering through the reeds,
"Be thankful, thou; for, if unholy deeds
Ravage the world, tranquillity is here!"


This is actually Lake Windermere, not Grasmere, but they're fairly near each other and we visited both when we were in the Lake District two years ago while en route to Wordsworth's Dove Cottage in Grasmere.

Having done the right thing and called, it took a mere three hours to track down the rightful owner of the watch they accidentally sent me with my camera bag (a college student whose mother returned the camera bag she had bought for him that wasn't the one he wanted, not realizing that the very nice watch she had gotten him was still inside it). I am returning the watch in exchange for a gift certificate for my time and trouble, and they are paying postage. Since the bag appears untouched except for having a watch and stuff inside it, I did not complain overmuch about the fact that it was not brand new, since's prices are significantly better than most places already on this bag and shipping was free. Meanwhile older son desperately wanted to go out and get Rocket Slime with accumulated allowance and I needed to return the smaller camera bag to Ritz, so we went to the mall for dinner, though I had been there a few hours earlier for California Pizza Kitchen with and the very end of Bath & Body Works' seasonal come whenever they make a vanilla I really love, they promptly discontinue it? So yeah, that was the excitement for the day!

Have just had a great deal of trouble getting younger son to sleep because 1) he accidentally ripped a page out of his cat page-a-day calendar, the sort most people rip a page off of every day, as older son does with his Stupid Presidential Comments calendar and I do with my *cough* Thomas Kinkade calendar, but younger son does not; 2) he was upset that I could not find a watch pillow, those little pillows that expensive watches sometimes come wrapped around, which I thought I might have but in fact apparently do not; and 3) he remembered that one day he will be expected to go to college and leave home. The latter is an issue because his best friend may be going to boarding school next year (at least, this is what the friend said -- this is the hyperactive one whose mother has a one-year-old and is expecting another baby in four months, and it is possible this was an empty threat, but it also might be real); the second one is an issue because by the time called to tell me they had located the watch's rightful owner, son had become attached, not to the watch itself, but to the pillow; and I really can't explain why the first is an issue at all except to quote when I told her about it: "Children are all insane aren't they?" I knew it couldn't be just mine. *g*

Smallville did a pretty poor job ripping off one of the most brilliant Buffy episodes in a long list of brilliant Buffy episodes, but I loved it anyway because it confirmed that the writers are aware of two things I've said for years: Clark is utterly obsessed with Lex and Lana does nothing but drag him down! I howled at Clark getting confirmation from an ostensible medical professional that his obsession with Lex Luthor is pathological! And it's fun to have him facing the idea that in anyone else, believing he has special powers and a nemesis would be paranoid schizophrenia. But the best part is that Lana being an adoring, whimpering, simpering puppydog is part of what's defined as a sick delusional fantasy. Though in a pathetic twist, Clark realizes in the end that he likes that so much, he would almost give up the universe for it! I hope she and her spawn move to the remotest corner of Siberia and stay there very happily forever. Wait, that's too close to the Fortress of Solitude, but I can't wish her in Antarctica or younger son will tell me I am being cruel to penguins!

And Chloe is right there, supporting Clark as best she's able, which even Clark defines as believing in him even when she's supposedly insane. It's like that doesn't count for shit with him because she doesn't bat her mascaraed eyelashes and tell him girly-poo stories about being given a ring in fourth grade (I was so hoping there was Kryptonite in that ring). Whyc can't Lana be more like Martha, who MARRIED LIONEL OMG HOW COULD THEY NOT SHOW US THEM KISSING JUST ONCE!!! ...sorry. *g* I know I am shallow, I know I should be talking about what a great performance Michael Rosenbaum gave as Lex in the wheelchair with no legs and with tears in his eyes calling Clark a crazy sonofabitch, "If there's one thing I regret in my life, it's that I didn't just run you over," because he was phenomenal, but I was still in OH PLEASE PLEASE BRING LIONEL IN AND LET HIM AND MARTHA HAVE HOT MONKEY SEX mode. I did get a kick out of all the items worked into Clark's "fantasy" -- Jorel soap, The Fortress of Solitude as a prison memoir, Oliver Queen as the employee of the month, 331 as the building capacity. But when Clark gets his powers back and Chloe announces, "I guess Kryptonite's not your only weakness," he just doesn't get it! Gaack get Lana and her lipstick out of there please and next time give us Lois and Lionel instead!

And then I had to sit through "The Savage Curtain" so I can review it. Abraham Lincoln, meet Genghis Khan...oh, and Lieutenant Uhura. Totally cracked and not in a good way. Am trying to figure out what to say beyond "The producers must have smoked a lot of something really bizarre before going ahead with this one!"

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Finders Keepers?

So you know how I decided that the Tamrac Adventure 6 camera bag I bought at Ritz Camera awhile ago was probably a bit too small, and ordered the Tamrac Adventure 7 camera bag from

Well, apparently I got someone's returned Christmas present. Because when it arrived today and I pulled it out of the box, it felt kind of heavy. And when I opened it up, there was a brand new men's Seiko watch in a padded gift box in the compartment. (Also a Christmas card and an empty Macy's gift card envelope.) I looked up the watch, and it looks like it retails for about $300.

Do I assume that this is a surprise from out in the ether? Or do I call to find out whether someone mistakenly sent the watch his wife gave him for Christmas back with his camera bag and has called them frantically trying to track it down?

ETA: Have Done The Right Thing (TM) and called They are looking into it. I just hope that if they make me send the watch back, they give me a rebate on the backpack that obviously was shipped to someone else before it came to me!

Poem for Thursday

A Marriage Poem
By Ellen Bryant Voigt


Morning: the caged baby
sustains his fragile sleep.
The house is a husk against weather.
Nothing stirs — inside, outside.
With the leaves fallen,
the tree makes a web on the window
and through it
the world lacks color or texture,
like stones in the pasture
seen from this distance.

This is what is done with pain:
ice on the wound,
the isolating tourniquet —
as though to check an open vein
where the self pumps out of the self
would stop the second movement of the heart,
diastolic, inclusive:
to love is to siphon loss into that chamber.


What does it mean when a woman says,
"my husband,"
if she sits all day in the tub;
if she worries her life like a dog a rat;
if her husband seems familiar but abstract,
a bandaged hand she's forgotten how to use.

They've reached the middle years.
Spared grief, they are given dread
as they tend the frail on either side of them.
Even their marriage is another child,
grown rude and querulous
since death practiced on them and withdrew.
He asks of her only a little lie,
a pale copy drawn from the inked stone
where they loll beside the unicorn,
great lovers then, two strangers
joined by appetite:
        It frightens her,
to live by memory's poor diminished light.
She wants something crisp and permanent,
like coral — a crown, a trellis,
an iron shawl across the bed
where they are laced together,
the moon bleaching the house,
their bodies abandoned —


In last week's mail,
still spread on the kitchen table,
the list of endangered species.
How plain the animals are,
quaint, domestic,
but the names lift from the page:
Woundfin. Whooping Crane. Squawfish.
Black-footed Ferret. California Least Tern.

Dearest, the beast of Loch Ness, that shy,
broad-backed, two-headed creature,
may be a pair of whales or manatee,
male and female,
driven from their deep mud nest,
who cling to each other,
circling the surface of the lake.


I would like to say I got lots done on Wednesday, but everything I got done was sort of mental housekeeping, not anything I can show off. Discovered that Tu B'Shvat and Imbolc coincide this year, a rather rare event given that the Jewish holidays move around all over the place in relation to the Western calendar, and since these holidays have quite a bit in common in terms of celebrating the sap running and the light of spring returning, am trying to figure out how to celebrate next weekend since my circle isn't actually celebrating Imbolc till the weekend after the Superbowl (which is very nice for me, since I am going to my oldest friend's annual Superbowl party on the first Sunday in February). Ended up digging up all sorts of ritual stuff and photos, and in the middle of all this, the rabbi who officiated at my son's Bar Mitzvah called -- he's still trying to recruit my son for the middle school confirmation class retreats, which my son has adamantly refused to do, but he is trying to work out independent study otherwise and we had a nice conversation about his new baby and stuff. And we scoffed at the state of dis-union together and the president...I don't think I could belong to a congregation with a rabbi who thought Bush was good for America, Israel or anything else.

Otherwise all the excitement I can report is getting my monopod delivered (I got a cheap one, -- figure I'll see how much I use it before committing to a really expensive one and this one got very good reviews), watching 1984 with older son because he decided he wanted to see it after reading the book and watching Equilibrium...we had taped it off TV nearly 20 years ago, a rather blurry copy, but it's not available for rent locally and when I looked to see how much it cost on DVD the prices were stratospheric so we made do with that! The performances are much better than the screenplay, which does not do justice to the book, and both kids found it rather slow after Equilibrium which I find rather amusing. Now I can't find my Eurythmics soundtrack and it's driving me nuts. At least I need "Julia" -- I have "Sex Crime" on their greatest hits CD. I have a horrible suspicion that I owned the soundtrack on vinyl! I also took younger son to violin where his teacher had gotten some orchids, which her daughter had adorned with hair clips:

Trek news today was Nimoy talking photography and Patrick Stewart teaching at Oxford...hmm, he'll be there in April when I will, should I try to sit in on a lecture? And does anyone know where I can get ahold of the audio recording David Tennant did of Much Ado About Nothing for the BBC? *bats eyelashes*

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Poem for Wednesday

By Ellen Bryant Voigt

The widow refuses sleep, for sleep pretends
that it can bring him back.
In this way,
the will is set against the appetite.
Even the empty hand moves to the mouth.
Apart from you,
I turn a corner in the city and find,
for a moment, the old climate,
the little blue flower everywhere.


Not a terribly eventful day. Got up to the Oscar nominations announcement...I guess I made the right decision taking the family to see The Queen instead of Dreamgirls, but wow, that's a weird omission! Otherwise I was pretty pleased with the nominations, though younger son was quite annoyed that Prince, who won the best original song Golden Globe for "The Song of the Heart" from Happy Feet, was not nominated and that Happy Feet itself only scored one nomination, for animated film (apparently he believed it might get a Best Picture nod). My priorities are that Helen Mirren win and Forest Whitaker win; I don't care nearly as much about the picture or director awards (Scorsese may as well have his trophy this year since he didn't get it for The Aviator). Am a teeny bit torn in the Best Actor category...have no interest at all in seeing Venus, ick, and Whitaker was beyond astonishing in The Last King of Scotland, but Peter O'Toole has never won one and I sort of hope they tie! And I really want Mirren to win since Dench already has a trophy.

Speaking of The Last King of Scotland, a casting rumor that amused me -- James McAvoy as Scotty -- though the source is as unreliable as the ones saying Tom Cruise and Daniel Craig would be in Star Trek XI. Damn, but I am fed up with the franchise, whether it's in Abrams' hands or anyone else's and if I have to write one more "Damon Lindelof sneezes while mentioning Star Trek" article I will run mad. I can't get it up for the comic books or whatever Pocket Books is spewing out these days, and I don't even understand exactly what the complaints about Star Trek: Legacy are since I'm not a gamer. On the other hand, Hyperion sent me Desperate Housewives Emmy winner Felicity Huffman's book, A Practical Handbook for the Boyfriend, with hysterical that I will have fun reviewing!

The old headquarters of the American Red Cross downtown, built in 1917 "in memory of the heroic women of the Civil War."

And the newer Red Cross building, completed in 2003, with a monument dedicated to servicemen and women everywhere.

I did not last very long during the State of the Onion (stinky and eye-watering)...exactly long enough to admire Nancy Pelosi sitting up there behind Bush, then he opened his mouth and that was that. Instead we watched Waiting for Guffman, which I don't like as much as A Mighty Wind -- it's a bit more mean-spirited, particularly toward the poofy director -- but still has numerous brilliant moments, particularly the discussion of penis reduction surgery and the song about the aliens landing. Oh, and was recording For Love of the Game before dinner while younger son was at Hebrew school and, you know, for everything I don't like about Kevin Costner in other venues, he can do no wrong in baseball movies, even mediocre baseball movies with predictable romantic flashbacks. Also, the fact that he's pitching a perfect game against the Yankees in New York helps.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Poem for Tuesday

By Pak Chaesam
Translated by David R. McCann and Jiwon Shin

The winds pass over the grassy field;
sunlight passes across the southern sea.

As two or three gulls
have risen at the end
of their indifference, a sailboat
has gone far and farther away,
as if bound for some dim and distant land.

How pitiable,
these, and these white things,
gone only so far and tiring;
and tiring, turning to come back.

For a moment the wind
finds refuge in the shadow
of the falling flower.
Beneath the wing,
or under the sail,
for a brief moment
the sunlight finds refuge.

Where do you suppose this
and the next world divide?

Winds cross the grassy fields
as sunlight passes over the southern sea.


The kids had no school due to teacher's meetings (which started two hours late due to snow), so we had a quiet day at home...or maybe I should say we had a loud day, since younger son's friend came over and there was a great deal of shouting whenever they had not been ordered outside to play in the snow. informed me that my desire to lie around and avoid driving in snow might be because it's Blue Monday -- the most miserable day of the year. A Cardiff psychologist apparently came up with a formula that factors in weather, Christmas debts, New Year's resolutions and low motivation levels and came up with January 22nd as our common lowest point. At least it's over! I didn't accomplish a great deal other than posting TrekToday articles and printing out some fabulous Book of Shadows pages I got from the Ecorebbe (am trying to figure out how to convert .docs to uncomplicated .html for ).

I did watch Equilibrium with older son, which was partly because he read 1984 for school and we were discussing dystopias, partly because asked for fic in ' AnonyMeme. I realize that this movie rips off everything from Orwell's book to Michael Radford's film of it to Brave New World to We to The Matrix to Brazil, but that doesn't particularly diminish the pleasure of watching it. Bale, Watson and Bean are all terrific (Fichtner and Diggs suffer from some of the worst dialogue but their cheekbones are equally delightful) and it's beautifully filmed...the scene where Preston first hears Beethoven, when he's holding the Eiffel Tower snow globe and the focus moves from the snow in the glass to his eye as the music rises...guh. Also we all watched Heroes, which I thought might be a letdown after so many weeks away but was really very enjoyable.

So my son and I are confused: can Claire's father block other people's powers like he did with Sarah, thus making him special like her, or can he only do it when the Haitian guy who makes people forget things is around? And can he only block the effects of those powers on himself or can he shut people down, period? In which case he could stop Claire from being immortal or Peter from blowing up. I haven't been a big Petrellicest fan but Nathan was so sweet this time out -- "I love you, man" and going to seek out the artist, with Hiro calling him Flying Man, hee. Of course I love Hiro in general...I don't know Japanese legendary history, I need to look up that Japanese King Arthur myth, as it sounded to me. The American Museum of Natural History sure is having a great few weeks...first Night at the Museum, now this, though now that Hiro knows he doesn't actually need the sword to get the sword, I wasn't sure he'd even take the sword. Otherwise, Santiago Cabrera is still stunningly hot (gratuitous shirtless scene ohhthankyou), Claire recruiting Zack again exactly the same way is very sweet, and Ali Larter did a nice job playing schizophrenic...I tend to remember her from Dawson's Creek and the previews for Final Destination 2 which ran endlessly before one of the Lord of the Rings movies so it is always a delightful surprise that she can act so well.

The Eisenhower Executive Office Building (also known as the Old Executive Office Building) with the Winged American Expeditionary Forces monument...

...and that other executive building, which will get more than enough press during the State of the Union address so I will merely note that it was nice to have had a January day last weekend warm enough for the Pennsylvania Avenue fountains to be on. Am so annoyed there's no Boston Legal this week, even if I am looking forward to seeing Nancy Pelosi sitting up there.

Discovered earlier that Tamrac makes a slightly larger version of the camera bag I bought yesterday, so I ordered that one instead. Don't need one that can hold a laptop as has his own laptop bag (and therefore does the carrying!) but I need one that can hold a wallet, cell phone, keys, kids' stuff etc. as well as a camera, lenses, filters, etc. so would rather err on the side of grandeur than compactness!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blog for Choice

Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007

I have written about this at length and gotten flamed every time. So I will simply link to my previous posts on the matter, some of which are locked to protect the privacy of the people doing the debating.

This is a very simple issue for me. Do what feels right to you, personally -- if that means never having an abortion, all power to you -- and otherwise keep your laws off my body and that of everyone whose belief system, faith, creed or politics are not identical with yours, on this and issues like gay rights, religious freedom, etc.

Poem for Monday

From 'The Prelude, Book I'
By William Wordsworth

So through the darkness and the cold we flew,
And not a voice was idle; with the din
Smitten, the precipices rang aloud;
The leafless trees and every icy crag
Tinkled like iron; while far distant hills
Into the tumult sent an alien sound
Of melancholy not unnoticed, while the stars
Eastward were sparkling clear, and in the west
The orange sky of evening died away.


Another from Robert Pinsky in yesterday's Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "More than a metaphor or an image, not figurative but literal, the flash of a recalled minute tells the essential story. These 'spots of time,' as William Wordsworth called them, nourish the mind by embodying and recalling a step in its development," Pinsky writes. "One example is Wordsworth's ice-skating scene from "The Prelude," Book I...Wordsworth's genius inheres exactly in the invisible vibrations between people and landscape, and in the exciting distance between the two. This moment is a defining instance of perception."

It started snowing before younger son arrived home from Hebrew school, so we stayed close to home...went to the mall briefly so the kids could get Madden football for the Wii (on the theory that it has to be better for them to play a VR football game than spend the entire afternoon watching the NFL playoffs) and found myself a camera bag at Ritz Camera, then came home and ate nachos and cheese while watching the Bears-Saints game (older son rooting for the Bears since he was born in Chicago, the rest of us rooting for the Saints because New Orleans could have used the publicity a Superbowl appearance would have brought the still-neglected city). The kids were already losing interest in football by the time the Patriots-Colts game started -- they had a friend over who was very impressed with the Madden game -- and though we were unanimous in rooting for New England, we had turned off the game by 8 and missed Patriots self-destructing, which is probably just as well.

A periwinkle, confused by last week's heat, slowly buried under snow.

A robin, confused about which season it is.

My poor daffodils -- will they bloom when it is properly spring?

Not much collected on the cars or street, but we got about an inch on the grass and deck.

Not enough to sled in daylight hours but if the temperature stays below freezing, there will be tomorrow.

Another confused bird in our neighbor's berry-filled tree, a very popular spot today.

We had a very busy TV night with many conflicting interests -- football, Steve Irwin, Rome, Battlestar Galactica, The Dresden Files, Masterpiece Theatre...decided that I really did not have to do the virtuous thing and watch the Austen Bronte adaptation given my complete apathy toward all previous filmed versions of Jane Eyre (and just about every other Regency and Victorian-era novel), and then it was a matter of juggling what was going to rerun when. Since the kids have no school Monday, we opted to record Ocean's Deadliest at midnight, though we put it on from 8-9 so we saw the first half, which was kind of hard to watch..."If he wanted to kill me, he could, quite easily," Irwin says of a poisonous sea snake he's handling. Then we watched Rome, Galactica and Dresden back to back.

I love Rome so much...the way the Jews and the politics of Jerusalem get brought in! And how Antony doesn't just fall for Cleopatra like the romantic cliche but there are so many personal and political issues pressing on him. Vorenus is a bit over the top being a son of Hades and not believing the gods can hurt him any more, but then, he's utterly devastated -- "I have caused the death of my wife, I have caused the death of my children, I have caused the death of Caesar" -- and being handed control of the Roman underworld formerly dominated by his children's killer (who isn't, because they're still alive, which I was so sure of because Vorenus' arc toward redemption requires that he reconcile with his wife's son before he dies!) I thought Antony was just lying to Atia when he said he found the Egyptian girl a skinny thing but he really seems uninterested in helping her and her son until he gets fed up with Atia and HER son...and ooh does Octavian rock with his plan to provide new leadership and manipulating money, even if he seriously misjudges Antony's temper! It's funny watching this and knowing which woman Antony ultimately chooses to support, now when their similarities are so much more obvious than their differences...Cleopatra may be younger but I don't think she's anywhere near as attractive as Atia, and she may be a queen but she's not as clever either. Meanwhile Servilia is realizing that she has no secure allies and no one will stick his neck out for Brutus...I kind of wish she and Atia could end up allies versus Antony, though as if! (Antony's telling Atia "I never touched that woman" made and I both recite together, "I did not have sex with that woman!")

And I was ready to hate Galactica after all the producers' bragging about all the people they're going to kill off over the course of the rest of the season -- I will never trust MooreRon again, not since DS9 -- but that was a fantastic episode! As much as I hated the faux Kara motherhood storyline, I found Sharon's decision to die and download totally convincing -- unlike Starbuck, Sharon's identity is entirely wrapped up in her motherhood, given who she is and her absolutely unique position among the humans. The scene where she begs for death is so powerful, as is the one where she's trying to figure out the balance between trying to lie to the Cylons and trying to convince them to help her (and the other Number Eight's jealousy and hatred of the baby is so well done). The very best moments in that storyline, though, were during Karl's confrontation with Laura Roslin which she so had coming after blaming him for his wife "leaving". I just can't get into the Starbuck-Apollo-spouses quadrangle (I wish Kara did not leave me cold, she's so screwed up and selfish and I just can't like her), but I enjoyed the scenes with the two women trying to get off the ground with Kara shot up on painkillers...and the weird irony of all the couples reuniting on Galactica with all their dysfunctions.

The Dresden Files had a lot to live up to after those shows, and didn't quite manage it...I adore Terrence Mann from Broadway, I saw him in both Cats and Les Miz, but he seemed really over the top as the over-the-top written Bob, and the flashbacks seemed almost cartoony in their theatrics. I love film noir and I sometimes like supernatural fiction but the blend left them both a little watered down here. There was some fun dialogue -- "For the most part, monsters don't exist" -- but I am reserving judgment on the series as a whole, though Paul Blackthorne makes it entertaining. Sunday nights are just too crowded as it is!

How did I not know about the Harry Potter and Torah blog? (Discovered because reprinted "Harry Potter and the Children of Ketura" -- "Did Jewish mystical books inspire the Sorcerer's Stone legend?"). Aish is in a very Harry Potter mood this week, as it also has an editorial on Rowling's spiritual obligation to give the series a happy ending...which I note does not mean that Harry must survive. Anyway, the article on the Kabbalah and non-Jewish magic is a lot more interesting. Hee, sometimes I need reminders why I love Aish because their Middle East politics drive me mad!

Hillary...was I supposed to be surprised after she put together the committee to look into the possibility? I just want a Democrat who can win. If that's her, great.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Poem for Sunday

The Hen
By Ellen Bryant Voigt

The neck lodged under a stick,
the stick under her foot,
she held the full white breast
with both hands, yanked up and out,
and the head was delivered of the body.
Brain stuck like a lens; the profile
fringed with red feathers.
Deposed, abstracted,
the head lay on the ground like a coin.
But the rest, released into the yard,
language and direction wrung from it,
flapped the insufficient wings
and staggered forward, convulsed, instinctive --
I thought it was sobbing to see it hump the dust,
pulsing out those muddy juices,
as if something, deep in the gizzard,
in the sack of soft nuggets,
drove it toward the amputated member.
Even then, watching it litter the ground
with snowy refusals, I knew it was this
that held life, gave life,
and not the head with its hard contemplative eye.


"Sometimes one moment of experience, one memory, can epitomize something central about a life. More than a metaphor or an image, not figurative but literal, the flash of a recalled minute tells the essential story," writes Robert Pinsky in Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "A new collection spanning 30 years of work by Ellen Bryant Voigt begins with a memorable, eloquent poem of this kind...the poet is present here: in the vividly accurate description, in the peculiar simile for the brain ('like a lens'), in the cool, distancing intelligence of calling the head 'abstracted' (Latin for 'dragged off'). Contrasting verbs at the end dramatize a crucial moment of understanding: 'I thought' introduces a kind of impression or illusion, projecting conscious grief onto the 'convulsed, instinctive' staggering movement. In the next, climactic sentence, the verb is different: 'I knew' introduces the distinct, unflinching awareness that the conscious mind is bound to, and limited by, its mortal host, the body. 'Hard' and 'contemplative' apply to the adamant and reflective nature of Voigt's own genius. She is a poet of knowledge, and knowledge in the living, messy world."

Saturday we went downtown to the Medieval Merriment Family Day and Open House at the Corcoran Gallery, which is in the last days of its Joan of Arc exhibit which we've been meaning to see since it opened -- it was free today along with the rest of the museum, though many galleries were closed (as the entire museum will be for the next three weeks in preparation for the next major exhibit). The Joan of Arc exhibit was focused on the changing image of Joan as warrior, mystic, waifish victim, heretic, saint and national icon in France, England and the US, with paintings, drawings, textiles and sculpture from all three countries as well as many illustrations from books. Our kids were a bit on the old side for a lot of the activities going on - making medieval headgear, balloon swords and a magician oriented toward younger children - but there were also strolling musicians and people in costume, so it was RenFaire-ish enough to be fun for them.

A musician plays a harpsichord virginal in front of a historic fireplace.

The magician performing the old magic rings trick with the help of a volunteer.

Some of the costumed gallery visitors.

There were no photos allowed in the Joan of Arc exhibit, so this is the only image I got!

Two lions guard the front of the Corcoran Gallery, as with so many art museums. This is the awake one...

...and this is the sleeping one.

The Corcoran Gallery is a block away from the White House and we have actually never taken our kids there (too young for the tour while Clinton was in office, too unpleasant an association while Bush has been in office) so we decided to walk by it. I was hoping for protestors with signs, but instead there were a great many tourists taking photos. I wonder whether it was the chilly weather or the mounted police keeping the protestors away. From there we walked another two blocks to the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, which has an exhibit called "Myth or Truth? Stories We've Heard About Early America" through March. Some of the myths examined include the legend that petticoats catching on fire was the second leading cause of death among Colonial women (not even close), the origin of the phrase "mad as a hatter" (apparently because many hatters suffered from mercury poisoning), and the true meaning of the lyrics to "Yankee Doodle" (proper British insults to poncy Americans).

Since it was actually below freezing when the sun set -- a novelty this winter -- we went to California Tortilla for some hot food, in my case tortilla soup again while various family members had nacho chili and honey lime burritos. Got home in time to watch part of the East-West Shrine Game (I think the West won but I was not paying very careful attention). Sunday they are claiming we may get measurable snow -- the kids say it figures this is happening on a weekend when they already have no school Monday due to teacher meetings!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Lyrics for Saturday

Post Mortem Bar
By Zane Campbell

When I cleaned out your room
I painted the walls to cover any memories
But still it seemed like you were hovering over
Still out there keeping an eye on me

Yeah I never really was able to tell you
That's why I'm telling you now that you can't hear
It's not gonna be the same around here without you
I'm holding back a flood behind one tear

And we'll go down to the post-mortem bar
And catch up on the years that have passed between us
And we'll tell our stories
Do you remember when the world was just like a carnival opening up

I never thought that I would ever see the day
And I don't wanna believe it's true
You were supposed to always be there
And a part of me has died with you

And we'll go down to the post-mortem bar
And catch up on the years that have passed between us
And we'll tell our stories
Do you remember when the world was just like a carnival opening up

If I could have one more day with you the way it used to be
All the things I should've said would pour out of me

I took a walk I didn't know which way I was goin'
But somehow or other I ended up here where
We said we'd meet again and I guess I was hopin'
But the place had been closed down a while
It was all dark in there

And we'll go down to the post-mortem bar
And catch up on the years that have passed between us
And we'll tell our stories
Do you remember when the world was just like a carnival opening up


My mother got some new bookcases and cleaned out everything left in one of the dressers in the spare bedroom, and she discovered a plastic hardware case of the sort that most people keep nails and screws and things in but my sister and I used to keep cheap jewelry in, and it was half-full of old abandoned earrings that once belonged to my sister. When we went over for dinner, she asked if I wanted either the earrings or the case itself, and I took the case and six pairs of sterling silver earrings that cleaned up very nicely with a little polish, and I just spent the past three hours going through all my old earrings and reorganizing so I can actually find the ones I like and rediscovering ones I love that I never remember to wear because for the past many months they were trapped in a nest of wires. I feel ridiculously accomplished about this, particularly since I had to organize many small objects with two very interested cats "helping" me.

Otherwise it was a pretty good, relatively quiet day. Had lunch with -- a double serving of tom ka gai soup at Tara Thai, one of my favorite cold weather indulgences -- then went to Target with her. Came home, wrote the Site Columns at TrekToday and a review of The Cloud Minders", which I really tried to be nicer about but every time I thought about Spock's dialogue particularly in the Droxine scenes I had to play B.B. King singing "Better Not Look Down" to scrub my brain clean. Oh, speaking of the Thelma and Louise soundtrack, hey ! Did you know that Shel Silverstein wrote Great Big Sea's mermaid song, and "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan"? I just discovered that today!

: The Moment I Let Go Of It
1. What did you eat yesterday?
Breakfast: bran cereal. Lunch: Tortilla soup and a chicken taco. Dinner: General Tso's chicken and rice (sauce from Trader Joe's). Also several pretzels and a chocolate chip cookie.
2. Are you more likely to yell or give the silent treatment? With immediate family, yell. With everyone else, silent treatment.
3. Who did you last grieve? My husband's grandmother. Well, and today, Art Buchwald, but grieving for someone whose impact on you was entirely through the media is very different from grieving for someone you knew and cared about.
4. What feels good today? I got my new purse! And a little camera bag for my little Nikon with a front pocket zipper so the spare batteries will stop falling out.
5. Friday fill in: Thank you ___ for ___. To my son for acing the science retest, on which he got 100%. Now we'll see how that translates on his report card...

: What five songs should be in a musical episode (or musical version) of your fandom?
I don't believe in musical episodes unless, like Buffy's, they are both utterly brilliant and genre-transformative (the Xena musical episode, I'm sorry to say, is not, and only the first Vic Fontaine episode of Deep Space Nine really earns its applause). But I make songvids in my head -- I have neither the skill nor the technology to make them in real life -- and I usually have a soundtrack for any pairing I love, so here, for instance, is my Harry Potter post-Veil Remus/Sirius top five and you are welcome to tell me that I am a sappy, schmoopy embarrassment to fandom because I already know it:
1. "To Where You Are" (Josh Groban)
2. "The Promise" (Tracy Chapman)
3. "Sand and Water" (Beth Nielsen Chapman)
4. "A More Perfect World" (Mary Beth Maziarz)
5. "The Sands of Time" (Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Orchestra)
Also if I am feeling like enough of a loser, Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" and Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" might get included on this list, or John Farnham's "Angels" or October Project's "Return To Me" or particularly Zane Campbell's "Post Mortem Bar" -- hence the lyrics above. And incidentally, anyone wanting to see a part of my and 's seven-year Janeway/Chakotay list can go here for a laugh!

Clipper City (with the USS Constellation at rear left) in Baltimore's Inner Harbor last weekend.

It was ridiculously warm and the ducks were wading near the water taxi landing (again, Constellation in background).

In the Maryland Science Center after seeing Happy Feet, a tornado! Which was disrupted by all these kids putting their hands in the middle of the dry ice steam a second later.

Late in the afternoon, we walked to the aquarium. This is the view across the harbor from the bottom of the World Trade Center -- the science center, Clipper City, one of the cruise ships and a gull.

And the Constellation lit up with the World Trade Center and Harborplace behind her as we left at dusk.

I think Saturday we are going to the Corcoran's Medieval Merriment Family Day, since this is the last weekend the Joan of Arc exhibit will be there. If it doesn't snow!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Get Critical Update

TV Review: Star Trek's "The Cloud Minders"

Poem for Friday

Nature LXXX
By Emily Dickinson

The sky is low, the clouds are mean,
A travelling flake of snow
Across a barn or through a rut
Debates if it will go.

A narrow wind complains all day
How some one treated him;
Nature, like us, is sometimes caught
Without her diadem.


In case I have not sung the praises of the miracle of Imitrex recently, allow me to sing the praises of the miracle of Imitrex. I try not to take it, because I'm afraid I'll build up some kind of resistance and one day it won't work and that will be a nightmare, but after the Advil and then the Excedrin failed me and the storm front was still hours away according to the weather report, I gave in and took my pill and life is so much better. I get all kinds of funny symptoms from it not listed on the immediate side effects -- tingling in my extremities, extremely dry mouth -- and a kind of euphoria but I can never tell whether that's from the medicine itself or from the removal of the pain. Stupidly, I waited till after lunch to break down and take the pill, so was probably bored with my whingeing, though I am pleased to report that California Tortilla's tortilla soup is a good temporary measure when one needs one's sinuses clear.

Spent the morning rearranging the videotapes and DVDs to fit in all the DVD sets people got for Chanukah that had not yet been put away, since I couldn't concentrate or look at a computer screen; spent the afternoon testing younger son on vocabulary for the big class test tomorrow (he keeps spelling antithesis "antitheses" and I have not come up with a mnemonic to help him remember that the latter is the plural). Older son's bus got him to the stop early from Shakespeare Club so I had to fight rush hour traffic to pick him up, since was still quite a ways away. And I bought myself a black leather AmeriBag healthy back bag (well, ordered online because it was on a big sale at one of the big New York luggage stores) so I feel indulged.

Our Lady of the Highways. This sign and statue are along the stretch of 95 going from Maryland to Delaware and always make me smile.

I realize that she's Our Lady of everything to people who believe in her, but singling out the highways has always amused me and the scenery is lovely (which you can't get a sense of at all in these photos, since they were taken in winter through a closed window and I couldn't compensate for the glare very well, sorry)!

I was thinking that I enjoyed Smallville a great deal this evening, and it only just hit me that the episode was Lana-less! Lex is like a different character when all his interaction is with Clark and his father...I still miss the character he was a couple of seasons ago, and Lionel's a bit of a tame lion at the moment, but even so, it was so refreshing to see them interacting so much. I also loved Lionel telling Clark he needs to be careful -- not scolding Clark for stealing from LutherCorp so much as for what Lionel thinks is Clark being sloppy -- and Clark having to admit to him that there's someone else who can do some of the same things. I'm not a big Bart fan, a little too cutesy and he makes Jimmy look mature, but I like the fact that his situation made it necessary for Chloe to be a part of the nascent Justice League -- since Lois needs to be Lois, can Chloe be Wonder Woman? Every time I hear 33.1, I think of Section 31 on Deep Space Nine and it makes me that Superman canon, like that storyline was telling me about where Superman was cloned and Lex used his own DNA to genetically modify the result?

Anyway, I love Oliver sticking the nickname "Boy Scout" on Clark since he won't play with the team and pick his own code name "Impulse didn't get to pick his own code name either"). In general I love the way Oliver interacts with Clark, so I really hope he will be back soon in spite of what he told Lois -- I'm ambivalent about the romance because we all know it can't last. Ollie makes a speech to Lois that reminds me vaguely of the one Clark makes to Lois in one of the Superman movies, though I haven't seen them in long enough that I could be misremembering...a sad scene but nicely done, him saying there are more important things in the world than what he wants and what he loves and someday he'll explain why, her saying she won't be waiting around for it. "This is the moment that I'm going to regret for the rest of my life, isn't it?" "Yeah." And then Lionel covering for Clark with Lex, lying for him! That is, lying for Martha, while Lex is trying to play Magneto from the first X-Men movie only without having any of the powers himself. I wish the show would dispatch with the Krypton-wraiths so Clark can go off with the Justice League...and take Lois and Chloe with him!

Also watched Shark, which was superbly, creepily, upsettingly done, and though some awful things happened, I loved it for all the ways in which it was the opposite of The Silence of the Lambs...we are not led to find anything at all admirable or sexy or compelling about the psycho! There's something really interesting about the fact that the killer is a fiction writer who deeply admires Stark from having watched him on TV...I wonder how many of the show's writers watch real DAs on TV and get off on very creepy cases. It cracks me up that Stark uses "Yahtzee!" as a phrase of triumph, like "Gotcha!" or "I win!" Though I am really glad he lost one, and such a big one, with so much at stake, because having a clever nemesis will be good for him and for the show, though I am unhappy that this killer victimizes women so exclusively despite having tortured his brother in years past. I thought at first that the writer was the red herring and the brother would turn out to be guilty, but the arrogance of this guy who is so determined to beat Stark at his own game more than makes up for there being no suspense in the whodunit. The scene where he's chatting up Julie like he's a student of her father is utterly terrifying, and nothing even happens!

Despite being anti-death penalty, after what Callison does to Janet, I won't be sorry if someone takes a gun to the bastard's head. (I feel differently about victims killing attackers than the state doing it systematically as a part of the judicial system...I'd likely vote to exonerate a woman who shot her husband's killer even though I'd never vote to execute the killer.) I don't blame Stark a bit for flying at the guy, it humanized him and it emphasized his anger issues at the same time; I like that he's not a cold fish, that he has so much simmering under there, though I also think he's rather dangerous and could be to his nearest and dearest as well as his enemies. Listening to Janet testify about the things her father did to her and the things Callison said to her was...fuck, so well done it's hard to talk about. Callison's parting words to Stark when Stark begs him to get help, "The Lord helps those who helps themselves," are also utterly freaky and part of me wonders whether Stark is going to very quietly help himself and society by doing in this guy...he was sure ready, in the restaurant with his daughter.

I am ready for this week to end. I just hope it's on a better note than last Friday!