The Violins (Al Kamanjaat)
By Mahmoud Darwish
The violins weep with the Gypsies heading for Andalusia,
The violins cry for the Arabs departing Andalusia.
The violins cry for a lost epoch that will not return,
The violins cry for a lost homeland that could be regained.
The violins burn the forests of the far darkness
The violins wound the horizon, and smell the blood in my veins.
The violins are horses on a string of phantoms, and water groaning,
The violins are a field of wild lilac that move forward and backward.
The violins are a beast tortured by the nails of a woman who touches and then move away,
The violins are an army that builds a grave of marble and melodies.
The violins are the anarchy of hearts picked up by the wind on a dancer's foot,
The violins are flocks of birds seeking shade under an incomplete banner.
The violins are the complaints of the curled silk on a passionate night,
The violins are the effect of wine denied to an earlier thirst.
The violins follow me, here and there, to avenge me,
The violins are searching to kill me, wherever they find me.
The violins cry for the Arabs departing Andalusia,
The violins weep with the Gypsies heading for Andalusia.
Quiet Tuesday...the pollen is really bothering me, so I tried sleeping late and taking drugs, but I think the only real help is when the flowers start dropping off. I was going to meet my mother for lunch, but then she remembered she was having a pedicure and couldn't get there till I needed to be home to retrieve younger son, who was most anxious for the school day to end because Erin Hunter's newest Warriors book was coming out, plus a manga about one of the cats. So we went to Barnes & Noble before Hebrew school, where I was excited because I thought I had found a new Rachel Pollack book on the Tarot on the bargain table, only to get home and discover that it's a book I already have with a different cover...oh well!
Wrote up an interview with Avery Brooks, who is always interesting -- he's recording an audio production of Roots, which he did not appear in, though he and Kate Mulgrew were both in the dreadful holiday TV movie Roots: The Gift which gives me horribly politically incorrect fantasies about Mirror Universe Janeway/Sisko (and Janeway/LaForge and Janeway/Tuvok...Roots: The Gift really has a dream cast for such a mediocre script). Speaking of politically incorrect Star Trek-related TV fantasies, Boston Legal went for utterly unrealistic social commentary but it was still fun to watch, and Denise and Brad are so adorable!
Alan has an old friend/ex-lover come in wanting to sue a department store for selling "Tartie Dolls" which are in essence Barbie dolls dressed like tramps; she tries to enlist his sympathy by claiming that her daughter is his daughter too, which earns her a look of pure horror from Denny and something akin to hope from Alan before she reveals that she's kidding. Denny then steals the doll -- probably to go with his plastic Shirley, he definitely has issues with objectifying women -- but his problems this week stem from the fact that he interviews new litigation associate Givens and, after suggesting that Jeb Bush would be an ideal next president, tells Givens in the presence of Paul and Shirley that he's very articulate, meaning, "You don't sound black."
Alan doesn't have a lot of time to devote to this crisis, given that Jerry Espenson is representing the department store that sells Tarties and kicks Alan's butt in court by making him out to be a sleazy lawyer who sleeps with all his clients and judges...it doesn't help that the judge hearing the case is the blonde he actually did sleep with. Alan cites statistics on eating disorders and depression in girls who are sexualized too early, saying just because a six-year-old wants a slut doll doesn't mean she should get one any more than she should get a beer, but Jerry (rightly) argues that it's just as wrong to censor dolls as it would be to go after department stores that sell "Do Me" t-shirts to teenagers...this is all the symptom of a larger social problem where female CEOs and doctors feel it necessary to get boob jobs, yet teen pregnancy is down and women in Congress are up. Alan doesn't mind losing once he's arguing against a calm, passionate Jerry rather than the slick, glib one using diversion to try his case, and in fact he appears to agree with Jerry's logic. They agree to be friends again.
Shirley, too, uses the bigger cultural problem argument to defend Denny when the firm's partners are ready to dismiss him after Givens goes to the media with his complaint. Though she had argued in private with Denny that there is no such thing as "sounding black" while he cited both Joe Biden and George Bush saying what he said about Givens in their comments about Barack Obama, she takes Denny's argument to the press, telling them that they too look for what will play well in corporate America, which is predominantly white -- look at the criteria by which the networks choose their own news anchors. Yes, she agrees, Denny represents that racism where the corporate world likes its African Americans like its coffee, with cream and sugar, and until that larger problem is confronted, punishing individuals like Denny isn't going to change anything. I find this rather half-assed -- Denny Crane may be no Don Imus, but there's no question that his racism and sexism have hurt countless lawyers at the firm in the years before his diminished capacity meant that Shirley and Paul have been running things, and that isn't addressed at all by Denny or anyone else. But hey, this is a comedy, mostly.
And since comedy requires that the play, or the season, end with a wedding...Shirley reacts with surprise and some horror at the news that Denise and Brad intend to marry (personal fantasy: Shirley is jealous because she wanted Denise for herself), and once Denise sits down and asks herself whether she's doing this for the sake of the baby or practicality, she tells Brad that she realizes she has a tendency to see him through the eyes of other people, meaning he comes across as a goofhead, but when she looks at him through her own eyes, she really loves him. Brad beams and says that this is the best thing anyone has ever said to him in his entire life, including his gunnery sergeant and Little League coaches.
They kiss, while out on the balcony, Denny observes that Jerry took Alan back and jealously adds, "I suppose you'll be going over to his place for a sleepover?" Yet Denny is still thrilled (from having witnessed the press conference in disguise) by how "strong and powerful and dignified" Shirley was, which made him want to flip her on her back and have sex with her. Alan admits that it bothers him more when people use "urban" as a euphemism for "black" than when people just say someone sounds black, citing Obama talking about the black idiom. Denny says he might vote for Obama, because Obama is handsome and Denny has no idea what he stands for, which makes him the perfect president. He won't vote for McCain because "McCain speaks Bush" (and that line alone would redeem this entire episode!) though he still won't even consider Hillary. When Alan asks Denny if he's bothered by how many people in other countries hate America, Denny says that America should blow up those people...though not because they're not white.
There are lovely red dragons all over Wales. Here is one on a University of Wales lamppost.
And another, more free-form, at Cardiff Castle.
This goat-head spout is one of numerous spouts at Cardiff Castle covered in animal faces.
A magical fish guards Plymouth near the Mayflower Steps.
A tile street marker at Three Cocks Lane in Gloucester.
I see that scientists have found kryptonite, though it isn't radioactive. And more importantly, Fairport Convention will play at the 2007 Herndon Festival on May 31st! Now Be Thankful!