Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Poem for Tuesday

By Wislawa Szymborska
Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

Nothing has changed.
The body is susceptible to pain,
it must eat and breathe air and sleep,
it has thin skin and blood right underneath,
an adequate stock of teeth and nails,
its bones are breakable, its joints are stretchable.
In tortures all this is taken into account.

Nothing has changed.
The body shudders as it shuddered
before the founding of Rome and after,
in the twentieth century before and after Christ.
Tortures are as they were, it's just the earth that's grown smaller,
and whatever happens seems right on the other side of the wall.

Nothing has changed. It's just that there are more people,
besides the old offenses new ones have appeared,
real, imaginary, temporary, and none,
but the howl with which the body responds to them,
was, is and ever will be a howl of innocence
according to the time-honored scale and tonality.

Nothing has changed. Maybe just the manners, ceremonies, dances.
Yet the movement of the hands in protecting the head is the same.
The body writhes, jerks and tries to pull away,
its legs give out, it falls, the knees fly up,
it turns blue, swells, salivates and bleeds.

Nothing has changed. Except for the course of boundaries,
the line of forests, coasts, deserts and glaciers.
Amid these landscapes traipses the soul,
disappears, comes back, draws nearer, moves away,
alien to itself, elusive, at times certain, at others uncertain of its own existence,
while the body is and is and is
and has no place of its own.


Older son had high school orientation this morning...he wasn't thrilled about being in school in the summer and I am distinctly ambivalent about having a child in high school! My mother was out in the same direction picking up the Bar Mitzvah albums (FINALLY -- they were finished months ago but she wanted to pick out frames for photos and this was the first time she and the photographer managed to get together) so she picked son up and we met at a local shopping center where she was meeting a friend for lunch. I took the kids to do a couple of chores, then home for awhile, then my father took them to the pool while I wrote Trek news (Quinto braces self for Trekkies who know ten thousand times more about Spock than he does, Shatner and Collins flirt on Fan Collective - Captain's Log and waaah why can I not get my CBS contact to write me back about a review copy of this one because although I have all the episodes, I want that commentary!).

Had dinner with , and whom I had had very little hope of ever meeting since she lives on the other side of the world, so I did not want to miss an opportunity while she was in my state! We had Indian food, which was delicious and I packed up the leftovers to go home but then the container leaked not only all over the back seat of Ruby's car but all over my gray dress that two laundries (first I tried cold water, then hot, based on quick check online for advice) have failed to wash out. Woe! This is why I wear so much black. *g* Anyway, we discussed the state of fandom and Snarry and the gorgeous full moon (*waves to Remus Lupin*) and museums and the Royal Family, and then I came home to some spectacular wankery which I am staying the hell out of. Except to say that I don't think racism and censorship are the issues, but rather ignorance and insensitivity and how communities are managed. And oh dear, in my efforts to occupy a wank-free zone, I had better go back to non-controversial topics like dirty kinks and adorable things:

Look at that face! A baby chimpanzee at the Maryland Zoo this weekend.

At first he was happy to play independently...

...but then he wanted his Mommy.

And a piggy back ride!

And here is a slightly older chimp child climbing with a parent.

RIP Ingmar Bergman: it is impossible to imagine the film medium without you. Must make time to watch The Seventh Seal again soon.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Poem for Monday

Cat in an Empty Apartment
By Wislawa Szymborska
Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

Die - you can't do that to a cat.
Since what can a cat do
in an empty apartment?
Climb the walls?
Rub up against the furniture?
Nothing seems different here,
but nothing is the same.
Nothing has been moved,
but there's more space.
And at nighttime no lamps are lit.

Footsteps on the staircase,
but they're new ones.
The hand that puts fish on the saucer
has changed, too.

Something doesn't start
at its usual time.
Something doesn't happen
as it should.
Someone was always, always here,
then suddenly disappeared
and stubbornly stays disappeared.

Every closet has been examined.
Every shelf has been explored.
Excavations under the carpet turned up nothing.
A commandment was even broken:
papers scattered everywhere.
What remains to be done?
Just sleep and wait.

Just wait till he turns up,
just let him show his face.

Will he ever get a lesson
on what not to do to a cat.
Sidle toward him
as if unwilling
and ever so slow
on visibly offended paws,
and no leaps or squeals at least to start.


Written shortly after Szymborska's husband died. A sad but nice companion piece to "Retriever".

My parents took the kids to Baltimore for the Orioles/Yankees game, where they had good weather but a most unfortunate result. went downtown, where we had blissful ignorance of the Yankees score but terrible weather. Our original plan was to head to the National Gallery of Art, but it was raining so hard that we ducked into the nearer National Museum of National History. Which was mobbed -- not sure if lots of other people had the same idea when the sky opened up or whether there were just a lot of tourists and local visitors downtown on a rainy Sunday -- but we braved the crowds in Minerals & Gems to see the Tiffany Diamond while it's on loan to the museum, though I must confess that I'm always more impressed with the stones nature made than the ones people designed.

Crocoite from a lead mine in Tazmania. The color comes from chromium.

Elbaite with hairlike crystals that formed on top.

Amblygonite with eosphorite. The blue crystal is a source of lithium.

Dioptase, which is green because it contains copper whose molecules absorb all colors of visible light except green, which is reflected back.

Drum Mountains meteorite, iron, found in Utah.

And the Tiffany Diamond in its "Bird on a Rock" setting, on loan to the Smithsonian in honor of a new endowment by Tiffany and Co. which acquired this diamond in 1878.

When the rain stopped we walked to the Air & Space Museum to see the exhibit on Earth from space, but it was closed for some fire alarm renovation, which was quite annoying! So after wandering around a bit, we came home and watched Rasputin, which is a rather uneven movie but totally enjoyable anyway...Alan Rickman as the title character, Ian McKellen and Greta Scacchi as Nicholas and Alexandra, and Rickman plays Rasputin as utterly convinced that he had been touched by the divine even if the script didn't seem to be able to make up its mind whether he was a charlatan or not (nor whether he seduced the Tsarina or not). The acting is far better than the dialogue but even the little boy playing Alexei is very good, and Rickman just devours the screen when he's on -- you can't take your eyes off him. (And it's great fun to hear all the ways he's described as a wizard, heh.)

My parents decided not to stay in Baltimore in case the storms hit there, so they came back this way and we all had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, which is never my first choice but instead of pizza I had their kung pao spaghetti and it actually cleared my sinuses for awhile so I felt better. Now my headache is back and I am really sick of it. Am hoping it goes away with the bad weather!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Poem for Sunday

Notes from a Nonexistent Himalayan Expedition
By Wislawa Szymborska
Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

So these are the Himalayas.
Mountains racing to the moon.
The moment of their start recorded
on the startling, ripped canvas of the sky.
Holes punched in a desert of clouds.
Thrust into nothing.
Echo--a white mute.

Yeti, down there we've got Wednesday,
bread and alphabets.
Two times two is four.
Roses are red there,
and violets are blue.

Yeti, crime is not all
we're up to down there.
Yeti, not every sentence there
means death.

We've inherited hope --
the gift of forgetting.
You'll see how we give
birth among the ruins.

Yeti, we've got Shakespeare there.
Yeti, we play solitaire
and violin. At nightfall,
we turn lights on, Yeti.

Up here it's neither moon nor earth.
Tears freeze.
Oh Yeti, semi-moonman,
turn back, think again!

I called this to the Yeti
inside four walls of avalanche,
stomping my feet for warmth
on the everlasting


From Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World, where Robert Pinsky writes, "In the news, reports have appeared of a perhaps mythical, possibly one-eyed, furry creature: the Mapinguary. Whether the man-eating creature, said to resemble a giant sloth, exists or not, it reveals something about the human need to imagine a being profoundly other than ourselves that yet somehow reflects (or consumes) US." The poem above, translated from Polish, introduces a magical creature as "a form of human autobiography, wistful and lonesome, as well as scary." It reminds me of Kim Stanley Robinson's wonderful Escape From Kathmandu, which involves a Yeti, climbing Mount Everest and discovering Shangri-La, though people are people everywhere.

And while you're back here and I'm talking about books, I shall confess that I bought myself both The Goddess Inspiration Oracle Kit and Michelle Skye's Goddess Alive: Inviting Celtic & Norse Goddesses into Your Life, both because they're illustrated by Kris Waldherr, and I am very happy...I connect with Celtic and Norse more easily than Greek, Middle Eastern Egyptian (less Jewish baggage, or rather anti-Jewish baggage) and although I have a Tarot bias when it comes to oracle cards, these are quite nice just as Goddess images. I love Waldherr's work. Also have obtained First Among Sequels ( got it as a gift) -- yay new Thursday Next!

We got up insanely early this morning to go to Breakfast with the Penguins at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Younger son and his best friend -- who was still not asleep at 1 a.m. -- were wide awake and very chatty the whole way there. To our surprise there was already a big crowd when we got there, so we were in the later group for breakfast (eggs, pancakes, croissants, fruit, has browns, plus bacon and sausage that I didn't eat) and for throwing fish to the penguins in the water. Ascot, the penguin we met as a baby at the breakfast last year, is now an adult and still a "penguin ambassador" so he was waddling around on the grass with a keeper, and some of the other staff were showing penguin eggs and bones, showing photos of the nest boxes (there are several breeding pairs at this zoo with new babies every year) and running a silent auction, at which we won a painting by a penguin named Honkers. *g*

After we fed the penguins, we walked around the zoo, beginning in the African section since that's where the penguins are -- disinterested giraffes, chimpanzees with adorable babies and a lion who roared loudly all through the breakfast but had roared himself to sleep by the time we saw him -- then the Maryland section, which has a bog with local turtles and frogs, a cave beneath an otter pond and, at the moment, a bunch of African spoonbills and cranes who've been moved out of the watering hole because it's being renovated. There are also kids' things to climb on and a farm with goats that they can brush. And Italian ices!

This lucky bird at Breakfast with the Penguins has caught a fish which it has in its mouth.

Other penguins waited for more fish. It was 94 degrees, so many of the penguins spent a lot of time in the water.

Here are the people eating breakfast before the birds got theirs. The tables were set up in a lovely shady area behind sunny Rock Island.

This is Ascot, one of the Maryland Zoo's ambassador animals, with a keeper.

The zoo had an auction of art created by the penguins (at gala nights these go upwards of $100).

This is the painting we won, made by a bird who apparently prefers knocking paint cans over to actually walking around in paint. The money goes to penguin rescue.

We think the bird with her back to the camera is Honkers, the artist, since she has a brown wing band, but she was not in the mood for meeting her public!

Penguins are a big deal at this zoo. Even the carousel has one!

Sunday my parents are taking the kids to the Orioles-Yankees game (they had four tickets and I think were hoping would go and I would drag younger son around Baltimore all afternoon so we could all have dinner together, but I was utterly fried at the zoo after being sick most of the week and am not up for another full day in Baltimore) so I think and I are going to the art museum in DC and then watching Rasputin, which we've never seen and it turns out the public library had a copy of! Yay Alan Rickman!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Poem for Saturday

High School Senior
By Sharon Olds

For seventeen years, her breath in the house
at night, puff, puff, like summer
cumulus above her bed,
and her scalp smelling of apricots
--this being who had formed within me,
squatted like a bright tree-frog in the dark,
like an eohippus she had come out of history
slowly, through me, into the daylight,
I had the daily sight of her,
like food or air she was there, like a mother.
I say "college," but I feel as if I cannot tell
the difference between her leaving for college
and our parting forever--I try to see
this house without her, without her pure
depth of feeling, without her creek-brown
hair, her daedal hands with their tapered
fingers, her pupils dark as the mourning cloak's
wing, but I can't. Seventeen years
ago, in this room, she moved inside me,
I looked at the river, I could not imagine
my life with her. I gazed across the street,
and saw, in the icy winter sun,
a column of steam rush up away from the earth.
There are creatures whose children float away
at birth, and those who throat-feed their young
for weeks and never see them again. My daughter
is free and she is in me--no, my love
of her is in me, moving in my heart,
changing chambers, like something poured
from hand to hand, to be weighed and then reweighed.


I tried to sleep late Friday to regain my equilibrium because I have to be up very early Saturday for Breakfast with the Penguins in Baltimore, but I only succeeded in giving myself one of those all-day-sleepy headaches from lying in bed too long. I was supposed to have lunch with but stayed home to work on a review of Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Home Soil" and edit some stuff with (old stuff, not new stuff; will try to manage some new stuff next week, hopefully!)

In the late afternoon we took the kids, my parents and younger son's best friend to The Simpsons Movie which made us all laugh a great deal. Some of the jokes were a bit over the top especially layered on at the beginning (they even had a running "Watch Fox TV!" banner ad across the bottom), but once the storyline got going it was hilarious and quite pointed both in its sniping at the government (despite being a lazy doofus, President Schwarzenegger still comes across smarter and less nasty than Bush) and its promotion of family values at the same time it's ridiculing popular notions of same is rather touching. Then we came back here and all had pizza, though I blew off parents and kids both around cake time because Doctor Who was on. Can't talk much about "Daleks in Manhattan" as had too many distractions going on...great visuals, not the most compelling storyline for me.

: Beyond the pale
1. Favorite pastry?
What's that Swedish stuff with marzipan in it -- stollen? Preferably with chocolate sauce.
2. How do you like to waste time? I'm doing it right now on the computer.
3. How would you describe your complexion? Pale and blotchy.
4. What do you hang on to that you should really get rid of? The belief that I can do things without putting my full focus on them.
5. What is the last thing that made you hurt? My sinuses.

: Possessions
1. What item would you be embarrassed for people to know you own?
Depends on who I'm talking to. With some people it's a Thomas Kinkade calendar. With others it's the double-headed apple-and-worm vibrator.
2. What is something you splurged on just for you? Most recently a sterling silver Chalice Well pendant. The one I bought in Glastonbury was pewter and I wanted one I could wear on a silver chain.
3. What is something that you own with no real world value that is priceless to you? My grandmother's jewelry, mostly engraved gifts from Deborah Hospital for which she volunteered for many years.
4. Do you collect anything? *snickering* Oh dear. I collect Barbie dolls, Tarot decks, eraser animals, Star Trek action figures, books on King Arthur, news clippings on celebrities I like...I really should not get going as I could be answering this question all night.
5. What item belonging to a friend/family member do you covet? A working laptop computer.

: Who are your five favorite fictional parents?
These are probably not my very favorites as my brain is rather sluggish this evening but they were the first who came to mind.
1. Calvin O'Keefe and Meg Murray O'Keefe, The Arm of the Starfish etc.
2. Mackenzie Allen and Rod Calloway, Commander in Chief
3. Martha and Jonathan Kent, Smallville
4. Sarek and Amanda, Star Trek
5. Joseph and Nora Bloom, VR.5

: Deathly Hallows
1. What was the biggest surprise?
That there were no inferi.
2. Which would you rather have, Hermione's neverending beaded purse, or the Elder wand? Oh, definitely the purse!
3. What was your favorite quote? "But this is touching, Severus...have you grown to care for the boy, after all?"
4. Whose death struck you the hardest? Hedwig's, believe it or not.
5. What is one theory you had that came true? That Snape did it all for Lily. Unfortunately.

This was the sight down the street when we came home from the movie.

says the rainbow was brighter over the parking lot at the pizza place, but we have a lot of trees in our neighborhood so this is about as intense as it got.

I keep meaning to link to things here and sticking them on Digg or del.icio.us instead, then forgetting about them. This week it's been lots of Harry Potter and science and I'm mostly thinking of it since I spent some time trying to get the bookmarks in order. Since I have to get up so early, I think I shall leave this at that!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Get Critical Update

TV Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Home Soil

Poem for Friday

Red Velvet Jacket
By Lynda Hull

It's almost Biblical driving this midnight burning highway
past South Bronx exits
with the names of streets once known, where torched cars
spiral columns
acetylene blue & white. We're in the universe of lost things
where the lights are out,
the lamp pawned & soon the record player, that enamelled table,
clothes, the rooms & faces,

air hissing soft through the rolled—down window like
silk velvet slipping hot
into my handbag, velvet fine as a fingerprint whorl,
maroon as the long dusty cars
that sharked these avenues, mildewed upholstery like
it was always raining night,
the insides ripped out of everything. But I was talking
about the red velvet jacket

that hangs even now in the mind flaring its slow veronicas
in recollection's wind that breathes
the mineral glamour of cornices & pilasters, districts
that burned years ago.
These days at the fringes even trains turn express,
the bombed-out blocks & clustered faces
blurred featureless. Out of sight, out of mind. Midnight's
burning highway, another charred strip-job.

Recollection: gather back the gleaming fragments & Warsaw flashes
a museum model of the Ghetto—
the Jews immured, a system of catwalks and barricades,
the trams' blackened windows
so that citizens might blindly pass, might invent consoling fictions.
Columns of flame light now
this tangled graffiti to a kind of incantation.
Called back in wonder,

the strangeness, the story endlessly told any life unfurls,
causal chains of small decisions,
almost random, those accidents of grace or luck. That red velvet
'30s jacket. How it sleeked
over the hips, elaborate glass buttons, how it made me feel
a little dangerous, a sense
of stolen fortune or history, as if I'd been chosen
for extraordinary moments, as if

I'd walk untouched, fire parting smoothly before me, liquid
& blue, that refused to singe,
to mar the bearer with a scar to signify the event.
Red velvet the color
of that long car we'd cruise under the river through Alphabetown,
then the Bronx, Hunts Point
& its flooded streets awash with crates of rotting fruit,
streets that figure still

relentless in the endless anarchy of dreams—
the Puerto Rican dealer, Juan, his wife, the kid. (Shift the car
to 5th, don't stop,
don't slow down.) But the door splinters all over again.
The jump-the-dealer routine.
Red velvet sleeve rolled up, snake of blue vein, snake
of salsa rising from the streets
the warmth sexual, turning me capable, the grain of the wood

on the floor flowering into the music, each fiber,
each splinter, until the tree
it came from greened in the mind. No, it's the watery
green of neon flickering
the boy's face by the window, the baby in his arms dangling
over the street, the mother screaming.
His faced striped green & blue & the water of the neon
stutters turning Spanish

on my tongue. Danne, danne el nino. Accidental grace.
I just wanted the screaming to stop.
Someone muffles the mother, but he's watching me—sole white face,
blanched translucent—& across his face
all the complexity a gaze can be. Calculation at first, fear,
disdain, the crying child. And what
did he see? Some hopped-up 16 year old with police-colored skin.

God I was innocent then, clean as a beast in the streets.
At the fringes of Warsaw's Ghetto
stands a prison where they sorted Jews from politicals,
politicals from homosexuals,
where masses dispersed to nameless erasure. There's a tree there,
lopped & blackened, yet it shines,
enshrined in prayer scrolls, nailed icons. Oh, lucky life,
I didn't understand until tonight,

called back from the ruins in that jacket, dark stain blooming
through the sleeve, the child squalling
in my useless arms. I don't know what happened to the jacket
& all those people are lost to a diaspora,
the borough incinerated around them, nowhere in this night
I drive through. Silk velvet and its rich hiss
the shade of flame offering its drapery, its charm
against this world burning ruthless, crucial & exacting.


I had a very quiet Thursday, which I suspect I needed as the headache and aching sinuses I had all morning are finally not bothering me so much. Wrote one of the Star Trek stories I didn't get to yesterday while I was sick, tried to keep up with Comic-Con news -- original Star Trek Remastered on HD-DVD holds no appeal for me whatsoever, I'd rather watch the grainy originals as I remember them even if the new ones weren't going to cost $200+ for a single season -- and maybe I'm really just past my capacity to enjoy new Star Trek because I felt far more enthusiastic about Enterprise than I feel about Abrams!Trek. Maybe if I'd liked a single one of his TV shows or movies for more than a couple of episodes, I'd feel differently. Even Armageddon only works for me because I can't resist most of the cast.

Meanwhile real space news coming out of NASA was scary and the top law enforcement official in the US is also the biggest crook and today's top search on Yahoo is Lindsay Lohan, who along with Paris and Britney must be on someone's payroll to distract the world from anything that matters. Well, and professional athletes and people connected with them. I'm cranky because once again I see very little evidence that blogging is power at all and Obama should shut up and work on his own platform before he starts criticizing Clinton's and it's never good when I spend too much time reading internet news!

The sundial at Brookside Gardens, with numbers movable for Daylight Savings Time.

July is a very colorful month in the gardens.

Lots of varieties of roses, and lots of late summer annuals.

Plus butterflies and moths even on the outdoor plants...

...and gorgeous passion flowers (thank you, !).

Friday evening for younger son's birthday we are taking him to see The Simpsons with his best friend. I hope it's good!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

THIS Is What They Kept Us Waiting For?

Quinto confirmed as Spock though staying on Heroes, Kirk not yet cast, and a poster that makes the London Olympics graphic designers look brilliantly creative?

Ahh, Comic-Con, most overhyped event since...well, the last presidential debate.

Poem for Thursday

By Donald Hall

Two days after Jane died
I walked with our dog Gus
on New Canada Road
under birchy green
April shadows, talking
urgently, trying
to make him understand.
A quick mink scooted past
into fern, and Gus
disappeared in pursuit.
The damp air grew chill
as I whistled and called
until twilight. I thought
he tried to follow her
into the dark. After an hour
I gave up and walked home
to find him on the porch,
alert, pleased to see me,
curious over my absence.
But Gus hadn't found her
deep in the woods; he hadn't
brought her back
as a branch in his teeth.


Spent the middle of the afternoon at the doctor's office after twice blowing my nose and ending up on the floor because the room was spinning for five minutes. Had to call and make him come home and drive me. Doctor said my ears don't look infected but there's a lot of fluid in them and my sinuses are a mess and I need a much better decongestant than the over the counter stuff I've been using. Came home, had very quiet afternoon, wrote an obit of the guy who got credit for The Wrath of Khan screenplay even though the director apparently wrote the script they actually used, tried to get through an article on Trek gaming but couldn't string two thoughts together. Finally gave up.

As promised yesterday, a frog at Brookside Gardens.

And a goose swimming in the lake, and a turtle below the surface.

And bees enjoying flowers.

Brookside has several honeybee hives.

And one more butterfly.

Yeah, so got precisely nothing else done today that I was supposed to. Comments, posts and stuff? Tomorrow. Think I have lunch plans but can't figure that out now either. Night!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Poem for Wednesday

The Alien
By Greg Delanty

I'm back again scrutinizing the Milky Way
of your ultrasound, scanning the dark
matter, the nothingness, that now the heads say
is chockablock with quarks & squarks,
gravitons & gravitini, photons & photinos. Our sprout,

who art there inside the spacecraft
of your Ma, the time capsule of this printout,
hurling & whirling towards us, it's all daft
on this earth. Our alien who art in the heavens,
our Martian, our little green man, we're anxious

to make contact, to ask divers questions
about the heavendom you hail from, to discuss
the whole shebang of the beginning&end,
the pre–big bang untime before you forget the why
and lie of thy first place. And, our friend,

to say Welcome, that we mean no harm, we'd die
for you even, that we pray you’re not here
to subdue us, that we’d put away
our ray guns, missiles, attitude and share
our world with you, little big head, if only you stay.


Yay yay yay LJ came back before I managed to get to bed! I haven't posted a nightly entry in GreatestJournal since January 15th, 2005, and boy did it feel strange. If I didn't know that much of San Francisco had suffered a blackout, I'd wonder whether LiveJournal pulled the plug so all of us threatening to bail over terms of service realized how much more convenient it would be just to stay put. On the other hand, I found a surprising number of people over on GreatestJournal and InsaneJournal, so obviously there's a decent amount of emergency organization going on elsewhere.

I had a pretty good day. Lunch with at The Corner Bakery. Exchanging some stuff at Target. Writing up news about how Matt Damon definitely won't be the new Kirk, Zachary Quinto probably will be the new Spock and Walter Koenig is horrified at conditions in Myanmar. Discovering that I must get the Wrath of Khan ornament when Hallmark releases this year's Star Trek holiday line. scalded and blistered his fingers baking brownies but seems to be recovering.

Watched the pilot of Damages on F/X, in part because I have lasting adoration for Glenn Close though I wish she'd stop getting facelifts so I barely recognize her and in part because The Washington Post gave it a rave review. I didn't love it as much as all that, though the cast is terrific -- Rose Byrne, Ted Danson and Tate Donovan are the other main characters and the entire supporting cast is made up of terrific character actors, so it's quite enjoyable from that standpoint, but it's very bloody and told in flashback so we're aware of where it's headed before it even gets going. Glenn is playing one of her patented man-eater roles ("If you were a man I'd kick you in the balls," says a male opponent, to which she retorts, "If you were a man, I might worry.") She jokes that she assumed one of her associates was gay, warns her newest associate not to have children because "you can leave your wives, but you can't leave your kids...kids are like clients, they want all of you all the time," and much as I love to watch her chewing scenery, there's just enough Cruella De Vil in the writing that I don't quite take it seriously.

Chocolate Frog, Photo Sharing at Photobucket
gave me this chocolate frog in honor of Harry Potter. Fortunately I had the pic at Photobucket. Tomorrow if LiveJournal Scrapbook cooperates, I will post a photo of a real frog!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Poem for Tuesday

From Loosestrife
By Stephen Dunn

Storms moved across the Rockies
and through the plains, rode the jet stream
east. By the time they reached us: rain.
And there were other things that looked—
to other eyes—like welcome news.
The country tilting right.
A few more punishments for the poor.
It was the winter winter never came
to South Jersey; no natural equivalent,
once again, to our lives. All around us
a harshness, a severity, not destined soon
to stop. Oh we were part of it,
reserved ourselves for just a few,
held back instead of gave. Our hearts:
caged things, no longer beating
for the many, who were too many now.
Meanwhile, the Dakotas were snowed in.
A bad wind came off the lakes,
and Chicago and Buffalo braced
for a familiar misery, predictable,
the satisfaction, at least, of what was due.
Here the sun came out and stayed for days.
It wasn't cold enough to think of warmth.
For months, it seemed, we lived lower
in the nation, seasonless, the answers
mostly Christian, though far from Christlike,
to every hard and bitter question.

The impatient, upstart crocuses
and daffodils fell once again
for the lies of March.
They simply wanted to exist.
The warm sun must have said Now,
and they gave themselves
to that first, hardly refusable touch.
History was whispering
at least another frost,
but who listens to the hushed sobrieties
of the old? The daffodils died
the advantaged death
of those with other deaths to live.
We stripped down, got colds.
Heraclitus, I want to say I've stepped
into the same stream twice,
and everything felt the same.
It wasn't, I know that now,
but what it felt like
had a truth of its own.
The daffodils and crocuses
traveled through the solitude
of what they felt
toward what they might become.
Choiceless, reactive, inhuman—
nothing to admire in what they did.


I would hereby like to announce that summer colds suck. Not that I want to complain too much, because I am so glad that if I had to be sick, it was this weekend when I intended to stay in reading anyway and this week when the kids are in camp and I don't have to schlep all over the place, nor am I at the beach, but I took Nyquil last night and slept insanely late and still feel like there's cotton in my head and I have to get up insanely early because has a very early phone conference and I am not looking forward to this at all.

In better news, I got everything done today that I needed to get done except having lunch. Got all three and a half loads of laundry done and sorted and folded while watching Rain Man, which held up so much better than I was expecting and reminded me that once upon a time I did not loathe Tom Cruise. Wrote articles on Trek XI (indeed no Shatner, there goes any lingering desire I had to see the movie), animated series canon (some whiners have a problem accepting this) and Kate Mulgrew (still Mary Sueing Janeway after all these years). Answered more posts and e-mails than I can remember doing in a single day since HBP came out. It was really rather fun.

One hazard of taking children to butterfly exhibits is that there is a lot of sex going on. These Pipevine Swallowtails went at it the entire time we were on their side of the greenhouse.

And these Tithoreas don't care who's watching.

Neither do these Crimson Patches.

I am very nearly certain that this is a monarch, not a viceroy.

And I believe, though I cannot swear it, that this is a Baltimore Checkerspot, the Maryland state butterfly.

This is certainly a Golden Helicon.

I think this is a Painted Lady, but really need to see the insides of the wings to be certain.

But sadly, I can find nothing on the butterfly chart that looks like this beauty, so I cannot identify it at all.

I had seen a preview (I think attached to Blades of Glory) for I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and thought it looked agonizingly heterosexist (marriage is a real special privilege for gays), sexist (being gay is a perfect opportunity to hit on women) and just plain awful. I get the New York Times review headlines e-mailed on Fridays and the reviewer called the movie "casually sexist, blithely racist" -- the barrage of gay jokes in for less criticism as the misogyny, not the fact of being gay but behaving like a woman that is played as repulsive and embarrassing. The ABC News reporter I overheard gave it a D, as did EW. I realize that most of OOTP's likely audience was at home reading DH, but how did Chuck and Larry end up on top of the box office? Ugh!

Watched snatches of the debate, wish I could say someone had impressed me enough to grab my full attention. Probably everyone fasting for Tisha B'Av is not online at the moment but if you happen to be, hope it goes well. I did not grow up fasting on the holiday and am ambivalent about it, having no desire for a restored priesthood or belief in a Messiah but being extremely fed up with European press coverage of Israel and revisionist history, and at the same time I was reading Rabbi Lerner's warning in Tikkun ("According to the rabbis, the reason the First Temple was destroyed is the reason that the Prophets predicted: Jews had power but used it without sensitivity and ignoring the Torah commands to care for the powerless, the poor, the homeless, the stranger"), and okay, this is too much politics particularly with a head cold!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Poem for Monday

Sonnet CXXX
By William Shakespeare

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound.
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.


Another from Poet's Choice in Sunday's Washington Post Book World. "William Shakespeare, like his model Philip Sidney...lets his impatience with standard language suggest a high standard for both courtship and poetry," writes Robert Pinsky. "Both poets also like the refreshing simplicity of words such as 'shiny' for the sea and 'go' for how a goddess moves."

Slept late after not sleeping much at all in the early hours of the night; I still have a raging sore throat, which seems ridiculous in July, but if it had to happen I am just glad it's now and not in two weeks when we're going to the beach. Spent the late morning answering comments and jotting down ideas that range from crack to complete and utter crack, then gathered up the kids and went to Brookside Gardens at Wheaton Regional Park, which was having its annual butterfly show, Wings of Fancy, in the greenhouse.

A Red Cracker (don't ask me why they're called that when they have no red, I'm just going by the chart) tastes a peach at the butterfly display.

I believe this beauty is a White Peacock...

...while this is either a monarch or its imitator, a viceroy...

...and this is a zebra longwing.

One of the lovely things about the exhibit is that butterflies and children actually mix quite well.

It's quite easy to find oneself with a Grecian Shoemaker on one's sleeve (this is me, photo taken by my husband)...

...or a Zebra Mosaic on one's shorts (this is older son)...

...or, if one is very fortunate, flapping wings in one's ear (this is a complete stranger, as is the little girl in the top photo, and I cannot positively identify either butterfly either).

And other than a visit to Rodman's for some necessary food items like P&G Tips, that was my excitement for the day. Though I'm sure I had something else to say, but have spent all evening under the influence of Very Evil People and have forgotten. *smooches Very Evil People in gleeful delight* Tomorrow I must catch up on Star Trek gossip ("Leonard Nimoy says absolutely nothing at convention!") and e-mail with relatives...apparently my cousin took offense at my non-absolute adoration of DH. Hopefully by dawn the Nyquil will have worked and I will be able to breathe and swallow normally again!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Poem for Sunday

To You
By Kenneth Koch

I love you as a sheriff searches for a walnut
That will solve a murder case unsolved for years
Because the murderer left it in the snow beside a window
Through which he saw her head, connecting with
Her shoulders by a neck, and laid a red
Roof in her heart. For this we live a thousand years;
For this we love, and we live because we love, we are not
Inside a bottle, thank goodness! I love you as a
Kid searches for a goat; I am crazier than shirttails
In the wind, when you're near, a wind that blows from
The big blue sea, so shiny so deep and so unlike us;
I think I am bicycling across an Africa of green and white fields
Always, to be near you, even in my heart
When I'm awake, which swims, and also I believe that you
Are trustworthy as the sidewalk which leads me to
The place where I again think of you, a new
Harmony of thoughts! I love you as the sunlight leads the prow
Of a ship which sails
From Hartford to Miami, and I love you
Best at dawn, when even before I am awake the sun
Receives me in the questions which you always pose.


From Poet's Choice in Sunday's Washington Post Book World, in which Robert Pinsky complains, "Too many movies, poems, songs, TV shows deal in the familiar, offering the comfort of the predictable. Sometimes, an artist defies that kind of expectation, to express a feeling." Koch "puts ships in landlocked Hartford and a walnut detective in the opening simile of this early poem...not just to mock literary solemnity -- that is incidental -- but to offer 'You' the pleasure of something genuine, as well as genuinely amusing."

Guess what I did pretty much all day! I won't lie, I got a head start and read as much as I could stand yesterday. Slept late because my throat and head are still not right, had lunch with my kids, sent them off to my parents and sat down to take notes. Drank tea, ate German Chocolate Cake ice cream, kids came home and started reading their copy, kept taking notes till our late dinner, then typed and here I am trying to catch up on everyone else's notes!

Am feeling a bit down, but that's because several of the people I usually chat with about fannish things are out of town, doing their own thing, still reading or completely apathetic, not because of anything that happened in DH or the sense of anti-climax though I am sure that will come. This fandom has seen me through a number of friendships, writing partnerships and social groups online, and I'm expecting a slow diffusion like with Star Trek and LOTR. Will dig in my heels and hope the people who say they're sticking around really do, one way or another.

The night we saw As You Like It in Gaithersburg, this art by Michael Griffin Kane was on display.

It's for a City of Gaithersburg "Art in Public Places" program. I am trying to find out whether there are others besides this one at City Hall near the train station.

The decorations included quotations and actual star charts.

I like the stained glass window effect and the flower collage, too.