Saturday, June 30, 2007

Get Critical Update

TV Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Too Short a Season"

Poem for Saturday

The World Is Not A Pleasant Place To Be
By Nikki Giovanni

the world is not a pleasant place
to be without
someone to hold and be held by

a river would stop
its flow if only
a stream were there
to receive it

an ocean would never laugh
if clouds weren't there
to kiss her tears

the world is not
a pleasant place to be without


I completely lost three hours of today to one of the worst migraines I've ever had, and I'm still a bit fuzzy (I took a double dose of Imitrex, which my doctor said it would be all right to do but I've only ever done once before -- I just hope the weather has pushed through, if that was a factor, because it wasn't nearly as hot today as yesterday and that time of the month is almost past). Didn't do a great deal, anyway; took the kids to the library and afterward stopped in the mall in search of penguin Jibbitz for younger son but they were all out, though we did find older son a Halo t-shirt he desperately wanted and since we were in Hot Topic, I had to buy myself one of the brand new awesome Snape t-shirts.

Wrote a review of "Too Short a Season", which was somewhat better than I remembered, though still not precisely good. The kids wanted to watch Click which is on On Demand for free till the end of the month, so I figured we should grab it while we could. Parts of it I really liked and parts of it I really couldn't stand, which has tended to be my reaction to every Adam Sandler movie I've ever seen. For one thing, it's painfully male-focused, about a guy whose regrets in life nearly all have to do with his father and his son (his wife's just kind of there, and all he really seems to notice about her is that she's hot, which, being Kate Beckinsdale, she can't really help; if I were her I'd have run off with Sean Astin as soon as he showed up), and for another thing, some of the humor is just so unnecessarily mean-spirited that it's hard to watch. The movie's saving grace is Christopher Walken, playing a riff off his character from The Prophecy, which is really too delightful for words.

Lost dinnertime to migraine (my parents probably think I was avoiding them but there is not a damn thing I could do about it; I could barely hold my head up, if husband had not woken me I would have slept the entire time they were gone). But I was delighted to read about how my cats have domesticated me: "Why Do Cats Hang Around Us? (Hint: They Can't Open Cans)".

: There's No Telling (The Migraine-Inflected Version)
1. What troubles you? Right at this moment, the US Supreme Court activist conservative bloc. Also, migraines.
2. Do you like thunderstorms? Love them. Not only do they feel and smell great but they usually mean a front has arrived and my migraine will clear up soon.
3. Do you sleep easily or toss and turn? Sleep easily unless I have a migraine.
4. What do you offer a friend? I'm very difficult to shock, I have a pretty good sense of humor and I don't mind listening to people rant. Except when I have a migraine.
5. Friday fill-in: Please don't ___. Please don't shout, make demands or give me stress when I have a migraine.

: Presents for Everyone!
1. What was the best gift you received?
A copy of a recommendation someone had written me for graduate school.
2. What was the worst gift you received? A dead rose.
3. What gift did you wish for, but never got? An all-expenses paid trip around the world for me and my family.
4. What was the best present you gave? I once waited in line for over four hours in the heat to get an autographed copy of Say Hey by Willie Mays for my grandfather. One per customer or I'd have gotten one for my father, too.
5. What was the worst present you gave? A quasi-friend in junior high school, the daughter of friends of my parents, once gave me a holiday present that I knew was a regifting from someone else who had given it to her the day before. The next year I gave it back to her.

: Name five remakes that you think are better than the originals. I am assuming things that are not true remakes but based on the same source material, like Pride and Prejudice or Horatio Hornblower, don't count...
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The TV version is so much better than the movie, it's hard to believe they're from the same source.
2. Heaven Can Wait. Here Comes Mr. Jordan was okay, though very dated when I saw it, but I really love the Warren Beatty movie.
3. A Star Is Born. I actually like all three versions, though the Judy Garland film is my favorite, but none is badly done.
4. The Thomas Crown Affair. I like both versions of this, too -- I prefer Dunaway to Russo, but Brosnan to McQueen.
5. La Femme Nikita, the television show. It's very different from the French original film but an enormous improvement on the American big-screen version.

: What Would You...
1. What candy from the books have you always wanted to try?
Lupin's Dementor-deterring chocolate.
2. What object would you turn into a horcrux, if the need arose? If the need arose -- like, if I had murdered someone and wanted to tear my soul? No, thank you.
3. What ride would you like to see made at the new HP park that will be opening next year? Flying dragons!
4. What 3 characters would you be willing to be go on a roadtrip with? This is a toughie. I'm tempted to say Sirius, Remus and James, but James and Sirius would be as awful to travel with if they were in mega-jerk mode as the Malfoys would be with a Mudblood like me. So maybe Luna, whom I imagine will be happy to stop at all the weird places I want to see; Hermione, who would probably know a lot about wherever we were going; and Harry, who having grown up as he did would be unlikely to hog sleeping space, whine about fast food or freak out about minor travel inconveniences.
5. You're given an invisibility cloak for one week, what do you do with it? Sneak around the halls of power to get enough information to get half the Bush administration indicted...oh wait, we already have enough information, but the people who should be bringing the proceedings aren't. Sigh. Fine, I'll just go watch Jason Isaacs walk around naked.

The reconstructed walls of Fort James on the site of the original Jamestown excavations. This is not Jamestown Settlement, the recreation, but the national park where excavations are taking place... here. I believe these are grave shafts. The earliest parts of the colony have been uncovered.

Beneath the church currently on the site, the foundations of the original church have been found.

Within the church are tributes to Pocahontas and John Smith.

But the more popular tribute to John Smith is outside, looking over the river. (The church is the brick structure to the right.)

And all the little girls from every background wanted to have their pictures taken with Pocahontas.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Poem for Friday

By W.S. Merwin

My friend says I was not a good son
you understand
I say yes I understand

he says I did not go
to see my parents very often you know
and I say yes I know

even when I was living in the same city he says
maybe I would go there once
a month or maybe even less
I say oh yes

he says the last time I went to see my father
I say the last time I saw my father

he says the last time I saw my father
he was asking me about my life
how I was making out and he
went into the next room
to get something to give me

oh I say
feeling again the cold
of my father's hand the last time
he says and my father turned
in the doorway and saw me
look at my wristwatch and he
said you know I would like you to stay
and talk with me

oh yes I say

but if you are busy he said
I don't want you to feel that you
have to
just because I'm here

I say nothing

he says my father
said maybe
you have important work you are doing
or maybe you should be seeing
somebody I don't want to keep you

I look out the window
my friend is older than I am
he says and I told my father it was so
and I got up and left him then
you know

though there was nowhere I had to go
and nothing I had to do


The major events of my day were an hour-long traffic jam on a ride that should have taken less than fifteen minutes, picking up from work so we could all go out for Indian food, and a visit to the orthodontist to get two extra retainer cases for younger son because every time he has gone anywhere in the past few days, he has needed to have one with him and I knew that if I sent him with our one and only, it would likely get lost. Now I have one to keep in my purse and he has one to keep in his backpack in addition to the one he needs at home for meals. I am terrified of the thrown-out-in-napkin restaurant or guest dinner situation!

In other news, I finally finished reading The Secret Supper many months after I bought it and many days after I started reading it in the car from the beach. I enjoyed it a great deal -- it combines both Holy Blood, Holy Grail-style anti-Rome politics and Treasure of Montsegur-style history of the Cathars, though I must admit that I'm rather with Theodore Roszak's take in Flicker, namely that however repressive and violent the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages may have been, I don't think a world dominated by ostensible Cathar theology would have been any improvement. All sex is wickedness (which of usually gets translated as the temptation posed by women makes women wicked), food just nourishes a body we should be trying to leave because all flesh is pure corruption and death is release...even in the books that idealize the Cathars as opposed to the Crusader Catholics, I find myself wincing. I do love the idea of Da Vinci as passionate crusader for religious freedom, though.

And I wrote two Star Trek articles that had nothing to do with Trek XI! One on William Windom, who actually admitted he found the original series cartoonish and had the impression that Shatner was jealous of Nimoy, hahahaha, plus one on Roddenberry getting inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, with his son continuing the Wow I Can Cash In game and Wil Wheaton continuing the I'm Not Just Cashing In I'm Also A Fan game. (Am I the only Trekker who actually preferred Wheaton in the Wesley days?) Son is reading Into Thin Air so we watched the Everest IMAX movie, which is terrific, on DVD. And in more Star Trek news I watched "Too Short a Season" so I can figure out how in heck to review it.

Cannons outside the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

This one, inside, is a British six-pounder recovered from the bottom of the Elizabeth River after Cornwallis' men dumped it there when leaving Portsmouth for Yorktown.

And here is a model of what the museum area looked like a bit after that time, when it was Virginia's largest shipyard.

Here is a list of the shipyard's commanding officers from the Civil War era -- United States Navy, Virginia State Navy, Confederate States Navy, then United States Navy again.

This is the outside of the Mariners' Museum in Newport News (taken with a different camera, hence the size change).

Inside, the anchor of the HMS Dictator, a 64-gun ship of the line that was in the Chesapeake Bay before US independence to protect commerce, then to participate in the invasion of Washington during the War of 1812 when it dropped this and failed to recover it.

This is the gallery of steamships, with dozens of model steamers. At the back is a Titanic exhibit with some artifacts and a replica lifeboat.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Poem for Thursday

By Ellen Bryant Voigt

Through the clotted street and down
the alley to the station, the halting
rhythm of the bus disrupts her dream
and makes the broad blond fields of grain
yield to an agitated harbor,
whales nuzzling flank to flank.
Now the bus settles in its gate.
She wakes, smoothes her stockings, gathers
her packages, the stunned shrub of her brain
lapsing into purpose. A nervous woman,
she passes the subway's deep stairs
and aims for the Public Garden: a few ducks
in the shallow murk of the pond, a few bikes,
the labelled trees, the low voltage of the pigeons' moan,
the last light doled out to penthouses on the roofline
where someone shifts an ottoman with his slipper.
This is not the red heart of the city
but its veined, unblinking eye,
her image fixed within the green iris.
Across the avenue, up the blank sidestreet,
the door is locked, those locks her talismen.
She stalls a moment, as a cautious animal pauses
before it is absorbed by foliage — she is alone at dusk
in the emptying corridors of the park. Nearby
a man flattens the clipped grass.
He knows each coin, the currency of faces.
Trailing her from the bus, deft as a cab
in the dense streets, as a dog on the broad common,
he's neither hungry nor afraid, a man with a knife
evolving cooly from the traffic of strangers.
Whereas the violence in nature is just,
beasts taking their necessary flesh,
the city is capricious, releasing brute
want from the body's need where it was housed.


I don't have a heck of a lot to report. Father took kids to the pool. Wrote up an entertaining interview with Nana Visitor and a boring article on the latest on fan films (curious: does anyone besides fan filmmaking fanboys actually watch those things?) Was listening to Kate Rusby and realized that her song "Exile" is also Lisa Moscatiello's song "Exile" and I love both versions of it. Oh, and we watched the wonderful Paul Simon tribute on PBS from the The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, with Simon and lots of his cohorts over the years, including not only the obvious (Garfunkel, Ladysmith Black Mambazo) but old footage with George Harrison and on Saturday Night Live and new performances by Alison Krauss, Marc Anthony and lots of others. If this is on in your area I highly recommend it.

This was formerly the lens of the light aboard the Lightship Portsmouth, built in 1915.

The ship is now in permanent drydock near the Portsmouth Naval Museum.

This is the kitchen...

...captain's quarters...

...and crew quarters.

And here is a view from the street side, with a riverboat ferry passing behind the ship in the Elizabeth River.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Poem for Wednesday

The State-Line Stripper
By Rodney Jones

I got lost.
At a family picnic for the employees
of Martha White Self-Rising Flour.
Two lovers found me down by the Tennessee River,
a little fat girl
crying into the lichen on a stone's face,
and took me to the grandstand—

I got lost. And then I lost my fear.
Strangers and high places
and nightly publishing myself
naked except for a fireman's hat.
I danced and Jehovah's Witnesses
came unglued in the parking lot.

My creation was like the earth's.
In the beginning there was shame,
then the body after shame,
dangerous happiness—
If I could remember how I got here
I wouldn't be lost.

Yet my body recommends me.
All that I promised that I would not do, I did.
I got over my fear of darkness
when it seemed to me anything out there
would probably be better
than what shone here in the light.


I don't have a lot to report, other than my kids' clothing drawers are cleaned out (though do not tell younger son that yes I AM throwing away his ripped gray sweatpants, nor that the school t-shirt he wore today was his brother's yesterday until I put his size eight in the giveaway pile). Most of older son's stuff is still in wearable condition after 2-3 years of ownership. Most of younger son's stuff is ready for the scrap heap after six months, whether it was new or a hand-me-down. I don't understand exactly what he is doing to his clothes!

All this was accomplished while younger son was visiting a friend and older son was distracted outside on his scooter. Husband's laptop screen appears to have died, so there was no online gaming possible (this means no TV for me if I want to be on the computer, as I can't see the TV from my computer and can't use the laptop, so let's hope it's a quick fix). I would like to mention that if I have to write up one more interview with Kurtzman and/or Orci explaining that they love Star Trek but they can't talk about the movie, I will scream -- I am hoping that Patrick Stewart's 40-years-younger girlfriend gets pregnant or something just to have something else to write about.

These are the penguins of the Virginia coast. Well, actually they're from Africa, living at the Virginia Beach aquarium... an exhibit called "Birds of Play," hee!

Because there are only six penguins, a lot of the exhibit is interactive, like this race to see whether people can carry eggs on their feet the way Emperor penguins do.

There are also video segments on how other species of penguins live in other parts of the world.

Little kids could measure themselves up against various penguins.

Though no one could beat the giant inflatable penguin outside the aquarium.

Live Free or Die Hard! Do I lose all my PC credentials if I am looking forward to this? Oh, and if you want to follow my every Twitter movement here: . Because sometimes I don't even know what I'm doing if I can't read about it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Poem for Tuesday

Common-Law Kundalini
By Rodney Jones

A sudden loving settles into your own weight...
click, then roll over onto your back
and you are there above yourself,

the human spirit in full cloud-drift,
a lust fieldstripped to eye and ambition
which moves through walls and doors

and rises to the carnival of looking down
with no power but that of seeing
all of it momentarily unchangeable:

the shadow-tinseled moonlit fields
and silvery water towers on stilts,
the vole in the unblinking talon of the owl.

Even better, asleep, in dream-buoyancy,
I have seen more than I ever saw
pretzel-munching in some cloud valley

thirty thousand feet above the sorghum.
Once a pelican stopped to question me.
Once my friend Herbert McAbee

bumped into me out of the mist
with a talking sheep under his arm.
Often I have achieved much in basketball,

for many dream flights launched
from the magic floor of some actual gym
where old men smoked by a potbellied stove,

but removed from time, unblocked,
and watched by sweethearts, cheered,
I rose and dunked and hovered

with fear's iodine in my throat.
When I am up there, it is not poetry.
In the dream's onliness, it feels

wingless, bird-elegant, experimental,
requiring the decisionless decision-
making of dreams. But somehow,

why do I do this if not for the freedom?
Sometimes I wish I had never heard
of the name of Sigmund Freud.


Yet another by Jones, well-liked by Robert Pinsky in Sunday's Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "Walt Whitman proclaims, near the end of his 'Song of Myself,' 'I contain multitudes.' In an opposite or complementary way, Rodney Jones wonders aloud about what it means to be or feel part of a multitude."

I have had a very lovely day with and my children, whose presence limited our porn-writing adult conversation but did not stop us from having lunch at Tara Thai and going to see Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (her first time; my, um, fifth). Okay, I might as well confess, since I said it to her: I think Barbossa is the hottest man in that movie and in many ways I also think he and Elizabeth are perfect for each other, even if (or perhaps because) he's pretty much the only man in the movie who does not try to kiss her...which, okay, is probably an even bigger indication that he prefers men than the fact that he can't figure out how to speak to Calypso as a lover, but I'm betting that as a pirate he's also probably flexible.

And, you know, I could go for Barbossa/Jack, Barbossa/Norrington, Barbossa/Sao Feng, Barbossa/Tia Dalma, Barbossa/Teague and particularly Barbossa/Bill Turner, though I don't think I could deal with Barbossa/Davy Jones. Though I also really, really want to know the backstory we never got on Jack and Beckett ("We've each left our mark on the other," as Beckett said in Dead Man's Chest -- someone told me she thought this was covered in one of those Young Jack Sparrow novels but I can't bear to look at those, I want a proper answer like "It's the one Jack left with his teeth on Beckett's inner thigh"). Um, did I say that? *whistles*
Anyway, -- who also brought me Tarot decks, whee! -- and my children and I also saw...

...the baby geese of a couple of weeks ago, only slightly bigger!

They were munching the grass right in front of the Mexican restaurant.

It appears to be the same mixed family, though the little yellow fuzzy gosling is smaller than the Canada goslings. I don't know whether that is always the case or just with this baby, or whether they are not actually siblings but part of a babysitting collective.

The darker gosling has orange feet, which makes me believe it's probably a hybrid.

We also saw the older adolescent goslings, which were definitely in a babysitting collective with several adults.

They are almost as tall as the grownup geese but they still have more brown feathers than the iridescent black and blue on their necks and tails.

People were throwing bread crumbs to some of the geese and ducks, but this heron settled itself just where the crumbs were falling and pecked the other birds away even though it did not appear to want the bread for itself -- probably it was hoping fish would surface. Later it flew across the lake and pecked the geese out of its way there, too!

And on the subject of birds, sent me the Chicago Tribune article on how giant penguins may once have roamed in Peru, and sent me the illustrated Discovery Channel version! It's probably a good thing the penguins are extinct or my son would want to move to Peru to get one as a pet.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Poem for Monday

The Boomers Take the Field
By Rodney Jones

It takes a long time to forgive
heroism or beauty.
And then the young girl
in the old song owns a plot
in the memorial gardens,
a brow full of Botox,
and a lover with Viagra.

The laps of the mythical
parents of World War Two
and the Great Depression
have lithified to granite,
yet we remain childish.
In our fifties, we study ourselves
studying their violence.

Do they forgive us our graduations?
They got dark early—
so elegant in photographs,
but thin from hunger
as often as vanity.
We were lucky, they said.
We should have lived in the thirties.

No one could find a kid.
Occasionally they'd find
a little person and beat it
for impersonating a kid.
And if it cried,
they'd beat it again, harder,
and give it a pair of Lucky Strikes.


Another by Jones, who "approaches large-scale material as if from a small side entrance," according to Robert Pinsky in Sunday's Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "Sometimes, he keeps his musing, vernacular voice so moderate in tone that the writing reminds me of a baseball term for certain pitchers, 'sneaky fast' -- the delivery finishes with more heat than the lulling windup suggests."

So the hot tub I thought was so wonderful on our trip because it had such marvelous hard jets? Is apparently the most likely culprit in older son's rash, even though he was in it for less than five minutes, because the nurse he saw today at the clinic (doctor's office being closed Sundays) was quite certain that what he has is folliculitis and she asked almost immediately whether he had been in a hot tub. The good news is, it's not contagious and is treatable with antibiotics because the infection is bacterial in nature, so at least we don't have to worry about keeping him home or out of the sun for the foreseeable future.

Since our original plan for the day was to spend nearly all of it outdoors at Mount Vernon and an evening concert, we scrapped that idea (Mount Vernon will still be there in the future and Laurie & Peter are playing in Gaithersburg in a couple of weeks) and instead went to see Evan Almighty (my choice was Nancy Drew but the animal-loving testosterone brigade in my family heavily outvoted me). I actually liked it better than I expected -- certainly better than Bruce Almighty, which was a lot more mean-spirited and made the female characters look stupid and shallow. In Evan, the female characters are very much supporting cast in every sense of "supporting," but they all have better chemistry with Steve Carell than Jennifer Aniston did with Jim Carrey, and I think Evan is more appealing than Bruce despite being just as self-absorbed. Plus, as younger son pointed out, there are penguins on the ark.

And I find it comforting to know that God chooses to quote KJV rather than NIV, though maybe he only did so for a Genesis 6:14 pun on gopher wood. In general I find Morgan Freeman's God relatively unobjectionable despite the kindly-old-man model, which is arguably supposed to represent what His followers expect to see rather than objective reality; clearly He is not a Fundamentalist, does not believe in smiting nonbelievers and does not object to a teeny bit of meddling in human affairs for the greater good. I was annoyed that Evan refused to take a few hours off from ark-building to go vote against a bill threatening national parks -- I worry enough about congressmen who think God is talking to them, they don't need it suggested that they should ignore their districts to do God's bidding -- but as mainstream American Christian ethics go, we could do worse than public officials having environmental responsibility instilled in them via divine intervention.
And John Michael Higgins was my camp counselor a million years ago -- I have a photo of me and him when I was fifteen and he was eighteen and extremely good looking -- and he has a pretty big part in the movie and that's good enough for me.

Did I mention that pirate rides, attractions, bars and decor are very popular in Virginia Beach?

And for some reason, haunted houses are too!

Even werewolves at indoor miniature golf courses!

But of course there is also beachside music...

...and the inevitable arcades, fun houses and amusement rides.

And the beach has other pleasures, like making sand convertibles.

And body boards! Here are mine and 's (older son also got a pirate, younger son got a dragon).

And in case it all looks low-class, here is the beachside production of The Tempest beside the old Coast Guard station.

Speaking of pirates, I am going to see them again Monday. My kids and are abducting me, I tell you. Arrr! *g*

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Poem for Sunday

Sitting With Others
By Rodney Jones

The front seats filled last. Laggards, buffoons,
and kiss-ups falling in beside local politicos,
the about to be honored, and the hard of hearing.

No help from the middle, blenders and criminals.
And the back rows: restless, intelligent, unable to commit.
My place was always left-center, a little to the rear.

The shy sat with me, fearful of discovery.
Behind me the dead man's illegitimate children
and the bride's and groom's former lovers.

There, when lights were lowered, hands
plunged under skirts or deftly unzipped flies,
and, lights up again, rose and pattered in applause.

Ahead, the bored practiced impeccable signatures.
But was it a movie or a singing? I remember
the whole crowd uplifted, but not the event

or the word that brought us together as one--
One, I say now, when I had felt myself many,
speaking and listening: that was the contradiction.


From Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "In his poetry Rodney Jones achieves a central goal of American culture: bringing freedom of imagination to a pragmatic sense of life," writes Robert Pinsky. "His poems have the mild, slyly confident, occasionally outrageous manner of a good talker...this poem gets its first propulsion from a variety of juicy, notable nouns: 'laggards,' 'buffoons,' 'kiss-ups,' 'politicos.' But after that initial burst, the energy comes less from vocabulary than from the shimmery, speculative nature of the event: Was this an awards dinner or a picture show, a funeral or a recital, a wedding or an AA meeting? How do those unzippings fit with 'the whole crowd uplifted' or the dead man? Jones was born in Alabama, and some readers might relate his gifts to Southern gab, eloquence or tall tales."

Older son has a rash over nearly his entire body that seems to have exploded since 10 p.m., so I am distracted from recalling most of the day (from what I can tell, it could be anything from food-related hives to a sun reaction to fifth disease -- he had a bright red face a couple of days ago which we assumed was sunburn even though none of the rest of us were nearly so affected, but he might be having an allergic reaction to the sunblock itself; is extremely allergic to PABA, which isn't in our sunblocks). We gave him Benadryl but can't take him to a clinic till morning and I don't think it's serious enough to require an ER, since last time his pediatrician (who suspected it was the milder cases of chicken pox that the kids from the first two years of the vaccine often get -- our son got his shot during that period) told us to give him Benadryl, put him to bed and check him every three hours.

Other than this crisis and a chaotic chore-filled morning that prevented me from seeing , I had a nice day. I dealt with five enormous loads of laundry by folding while watching The Crying Game, which I wanted to record while it was on Encore On Demand. That is a brilliant movie, one of the films with a twist that works much better after you know the secret because then you can really pay attention to how it works and why it matters. Like Kiss of the Spider Woman, it has all sorts of interesting things going on about how the personal is political and vice versa and how gender plays and gets played. (I've read accusations that both movies are misogynistic or at least relegate women and the feminine to disempowered positions and I could not disagree more -- in fact I wrote a long letter to The Chicago Reader about how strongly I objected to their review dismissing The Crying Game as anti-women, and in those days I was in grad school ranting about absolutely everything from a feminist perspective).

We needed some groceries and ended up deciding to go pick blueberries at a local orchard, plus when we got there we discovered that they had cherries as well, and the farm market had locally made maple syrup, apple butter and strawberry lemonade. Came home, washed the linens that didn't make it into all the trip laundry, had dinner and went to the Lubber Run Park Amphitheatre to see Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Orchestra, which was playing with the full band. They did a brand-new song, "Waves," which Jennifer said had never been performed in public before, plus about half of the Ocean CD and a couple of New St. George songs and Shocking Blue's "Venus."

One of the annual "Blueberries at Butler's Orchard" photos.

There were so many people picking that the orchard was running rides out to the fields.

Nevertheless, the berries were plentiful.

And there were honeybees, which are becoming a frighteningly rare sight.

I did not get a single photo that really does the cherries justice, at least not when reduced for posting.

Ocean Orchestra performs at Lubber Run Amphitheatre in Virginia: Dave Abe on fiddle, Zan McLeod on guitar and bouzouki, Grace Griffith singing, Lisa Moscatiello on vocals and guitar, Rico Petrucelli on electric bass, Bob Mitchell on bagpipes and Jennifer Cutting on keyboards and button accordion, I'm not sure who was playing the drums!

Here are Grace and Lisa up close. They took turns singing in foreign languages: Grace did the Gaelic to Lisa's English on "Song for the Night Sea Journey," then Lisa did the Breton to Grace's English on "The Water Is Wide."

Jennifer almost called off the concert because she had broken her foot. She was lower energy than usual as she had to stay sitting.

No idea about Sunday plans...have to see how son is. Our original plans involved Mount Vernon and seeing Peter and Laurie perform at another Virginia park, but being in the sun is out and possibly going anywhere other than to see a doctor may be, too.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Poem for Saturday

The Great Figure
By William Carlos Williams

Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.


Younger son got his retainer this morning, much to his chagrin -- a few weeks with no braces and he was really enjoying having his mouth all to himself. Ultimately he will need braces on the lower teeth, too, poor guy. I dragged older son out with us so I could go buy them both new shoes after the orthodontist...younger son now wears a size bigger than I do in Merrells, which we both love, while older son is rapidly catching up to . And their shoes are getting expensive...eep!

In the afternoon my father took the kids to the pool, since my mother is visiting my sister for several days (my sister, having tired of trying to get the family together for my mother's birthday, is taking my mother to Canyon Ranch later in the summer a long with a bunch of her equally wealthy friends and their mothers, so my sister has probably won the Good Daughter award for the year, as I can't hope to compete on that playing field). I am only halfway done with our eight laundries, so that is Saturday morning's project! I did watch the Stargate: Atlantis season finale, but having missed parts of this season and all of the last, I am in no position to say anything intelligent about it, other than I think I like Elizabeth better than anyone else I know.

: The sun goes down alone
1. Have any road trips planned?
Now that we're one day back from the Virginia Beach trip, we have vague tentative plans to go to Hanover for July 4th and to Lake George with my whole family in August, but our next serious road trip won't be till next summer, cross-country.
2. What is out of your reach? At the moment, my cat, who is sitting opposite me on the couch and glaring because I'm not petting her.
3. Are you more likely to watch a sunset or the sun rise? Sunset. I can count the number of sunrises I've seen willingly on both hands.
4. What night will you never forget? The night my younger son was born. (I'd like to say the night my older son was born but I'd been in labor for nearly a day and they gave me Demerol without warning me.)
5. What's the last thing that made you scream? My son using his shirt as a napkin.

: Changing Formats
1. If you were going to remake a movie, what would it be and who would you cast in the roles?
I usually hate remakes. I'm tempted to say a live action version of The Road To El Dorado with the main voice actors from the animated movie.
2. If you could turn a book into a movie, what would it be and who would you cast in the roles? The Black Chalice, with Sean Bean as Karelian, Viggo Mortensen as Godfroi, Orlando Bloom as Paul and Catherine Zeta Jones as Raven.
3. If you were going to turn a video game into a movie, what would it be? Would it be animated or live-action? I'd have to play a video game to have an answer to this.
4. You're going to turn a book into a TV series. What is it? Why would it make a good TV show?
5. Do you generally prefer the movie versions or the novel versions of works? Depends on how well-written the novel is. Bestsellers generally translate fine to the screen (I thought The Horse Whisperer for instance was a better movie than book). But The Great Gatsby? Despite a perfect cast, it's a damn mediocre movie.

: Name 5 remakes that never should have been made.
1. The Lion In Winter
. I love Glenn Close and Patrick Stewart, but the original was absolutely perfect as it was.
2. King Kong. Everything I can excuse in the older one as a product of its era is magnified and made ten times worse in Peter Jackson's version.
3. A Perfect Murder. Dial M For Murder is a nearly perfect movie, one of the best representative films of the genre. It did NOT need remaking. (I didn't see all of the Psycho remake so I cannot really comment, but I suspect I would feel the same way.)
4. War of the Worlds which should have won Spielberg an Oscar for Worst Idea Involving Tom Cruise Since The Arranged Marriage To Nicole Kidman.
5. The Love Boat. It's not that the original was so good, it's that The Next Wave was SO BAD.

: Theories and More
1. What is your favorite Book 7 theory?
If you mean "favorite" as in "one I'd most like to see," it's that Tonks is under Imperius and that's why she's been turned into the Second Coming of Merope. If you mean "one I find both entertaining and reasonably plausible," it's Harry the Horcrux. (Oh -- and, of course, Snape Is Good.)
2. Which movie soundtrack do you like best and why? Prisoner of Azkaban, because it's my favorite of the films and the one I've seen the most times.
3. How long do you plan to spend reading DH? As long as it takes to get from the beginning to the end while writing down notes.
4. If you could have any character for a LiveJournal friend, who would it be? Gilderoy Lockhart. He'd be only slightly more of a braggart than a lot of people around here, he'd tell entertaining stories and all the wannabe BNFs would friend me just because I knew him.
5. Have you ever had a teacher/professor that reminded you of a Hogwarts professor? How? I had a college professor who reminds me of Lupin -- gave me special advanced lessons and everything -- except his weakness was alcohol, not lycanthropy. I also had an Umbridge, but that was in elementary school and best forgotten.

A farmer contemplates his crops outside the walls of Fort James at the Jamestown Settlement.

In the Powhatan village, a Native American woman describes how tobacco and corn are cultivated there.

A settler works on weaving a fishing net...

...while the blacksmith discusses his tools...

...and a cook complains that the chickens keep laying eggs in the oven.

One of the English expedition leaders explains how the Virginia Company books are kept.

Not far away, a Powhatan girl works on a carving.

I was distressed to read that according to The New York Daily News, Boston Legal is replacing nearly half its regular cast. Including Mark Valley, Julie Bowen, Constance Zimmer and Rene Auberjonois! I can live without Claire, she was new last season and they seemed to run out of ideas for what to do with her, and I had feared that Denise might not be back after maternity leave when Shirley suggested that Jerry could take over some of her work (Christian Clemenson, who won an Emmy, will be a regular). But Brad has been there since the beginning and I'm going to be very bummed if he isn't at least a recurring character. I hope Paul Lewiston will be, since Auberjonois was supposed to be only part-time in the first place and had said he was semi-retired, but I will miss his scenes with Shirley! Having John Larroquette is not much consolation and I'd think his fans are older than Valley's and Bowen's, when the show is already allegedly skewing older than ABC wants. And I don't know Tara Summers' work as well as I knew Bowen's. Sigh. At least Shatner, Spader and Bergen are staying!