Friday, February 29, 2008

Poem for Friday

My True Love Hath My Heart and I Have His
By Sir Phillip Sidney

My true love hath my heart and I have his,
By just exchange one for another given;
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss,
There never was a better bargain driven.
My true love has my heart and I have his.

His heart in me keeps him and me in one,
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides;
He loves my heart, for once it was his own,
I cherish his, because in me it bides.
My true love hath my heart and I have his.


I'm having a quiet week, which is probably just as well. Spent the morning on the phone talking to people like Perky Paduan and Mama Dracula, with whom I was way behind in gossip; visited with my mother, who brought me back a turquoise necklace from Mexico; folded laundry and watched A Man For All Seasons, which is a good as I remembered, though I must admit that in the scenes where Robert Shaw's Henry VIII was onscreen with Paul Scofield, I couldn't take my eyes off Shaw. Someone very wisely cut the king almost entirely out of the second half of the movie in favor of Cromwell. Why didn't Shaw win an Oscar for this film? Anyway, seeing Hampton Court Palace put me in a good mood.

The elementary school on Wednesday morning, reduced to its frame...

...while chunks of the building were scooped away.

By Thursday afternoon, the trucks were burying under the rubble...

...and the building was gone, with large hoses wetting down the dust to keep it from blowing.

I burned the last four Torchwood episodes to disc so I could watch the most recent two so I am finally caught up with the UK! And, fine, I am finally completely over my residual dislike for Owen from the first season, even though I still like the women better. Spoilers:"A Day in the Death" I thought was a much better episode than "Dead Man Walking," which incorporates a lot of standard horror fare; I liked the scene with Owen and the kid with leukemia at the hospital, and I liked Gwen calling Rhys and sobbing, but I still feel like Tosh is being made to look far too pathetic far too much of the time and I'm really confused about Jack's motives for bringing Owen back in the first place (not buying either that he needed the code or that he was desperate not to give up on Owen's life yet without knowing who it would put at risk -- he almost killed Martha).

"A Day in the Death" had some fabulous dialogue with Owen comparing himself to both Jesus (though without the beard, since he can't ever grow a beard now) and the Doctor ("a bloody brilliant doctor") even though he's never met the Doctor -- that parallel was for us in the audience. I loved the conversation with the old man about how being trapped in the dark with medical machinery isn't really an improvement on death, and Owen cleaning out all the things he never expects to need from his house again, but I was really waiting for the deus ex machina. If he can produce enough air from his lungs to talk, can't he produce enough at least to try CPR, even if it's just recycled atmosphere? How is his body getting rid of waste material from whatever it's metabolizing to make his muscles work? Given all those questions and his Death Becomes Her condition I was expecting him to be brought fully back to life, which isn't particularly more scientifically absurd than dead-but-mobile. How long can the writers leave him in-between?

Must review Trek on Friday ("Shades of Gray," widely considered the worst TNG episode ever, though I don't hate it quite so much) and we are out of pita! Woe. Need to find a way to celebrate Leap Year!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Poem for Thursday

Two Loves
By Lord Alfred Douglas

I dreamed I stood upon a little hill,
And at my feet there lay a ground, that seemed
Like a waste garden, flowering at its will
With buds and blossoms. There were pools that dreamed
Black and unruffled; there were white lilies
A few, and crocuses, and violets
Purple or pale, snake-like fritillaries
Scarce seen for the rank grass, and through green nets
Blue eyes of shy peryenche winked in the sun.
And there were curious flowers, before unknown,
Flowers that were stained with moonlight, or with shades
Of Nature's willful moods; and here a one
That had drunk in the transitory tone
Of one brief moment in a sunset; blades
Of grass that in an hundred springs had been
Slowly but exquisitely nurtured by the stars,
And watered with the scented dew long cupped
In lilies, that for rays of sun had seen
Only God's glory, for never a sunrise mars
The luminous air of Heaven. Beyond, abrupt,
A grey stone wall. o'ergrown with velvet moss
Uprose; and gazing I stood long, all mazed
To see a place so strange, so sweet, so fair.
And as I stood and marvelled, lo! across
The garden came a youth; one hand he raised
To shield him from the sun, his wind-tossed hair
Was twined with flowers, and in his hand he bore
A purple bunch of bursting grapes, his eyes
Were clear as crystal, naked all was he,
White as the snow on pathless mountains frore,
Red were his lips as red wine-spilith that dyes
A marble floor, his brow chalcedony.
And he came near me, with his lips uncurled
And kind, and caught my hand and kissed my mouth,
And gave me grapes to eat, and said, 'Sweet friend,
Come I will show thee shadows of the world
And images of life. See from the South
Comes the pale pageant that hath never an end.'
And lo! within the garden of my dream
I saw two walking on a shining plain
Of golden light. The one did joyous seem
And fair and blooming, and a sweet refrain
Came from his lips; he sang of pretty maids
And joyous love of comely girl and boy,
His eyes were bright, and 'mid the dancing blades
Of golden grass his feet did trip for joy;
And in his hand he held an ivory lute
With strings of gold that were as maidens' hair,
And sang with voice as tuneful as a flute,
And round his neck three chains of roses were.
But he that was his comrade walked aside;
He was full sad and sweet, and his large eyes
Were strange with wondrous brightness, staring wide
With gazing; and he sighed with many sighs
That moved me, and his cheeks were wan and white
Like pallid lilies, and his lips were red
Like poppies, and his hands he clenched tight,
And yet again unclenched, and his head
Was wreathed with moon-flowers pale as lips of death.
A purple robe he wore, o'erwrought in gold
With the device of a great snake, whose breath
Was fiery flame: which when I did behold
I fell a-weeping, and I cried, 'Sweet youth,
Tell me why, sad and sighing, thou dost rove
These pleasent realms? I pray thee speak me sooth
What is thy name?' He said, 'My name is Love.'
Then straight the first did turn himself to me
And cried, 'He lieth, for his name is Shame,
But I am Love, and I was wont to be
Alone in this fair garden, till he came
Unasked by night; I am true Love, I fill
The hearts of boy and girl with mutual flame.'
Then sighing, said the other, 'Have thy will,
I am the love that dare not speak its name.'


My kids had a half-day of school due to some county teacher thing or other -- why yes, it does seem like we had a lot of those -- so I did not get a heck of a lot done on Wednesday. I managed to get out to CVS (with both kids and a friend, meaning, we brought Peeps home with us as well as shampoo etc.) and I managed to complete a nearly full draft of something I've been trying to get written. Okay, I know I am the last person on the internet to find out about "I'm F@&#ing Matt Damon" and "I'm F@&#ing Ben Affleck" on Jimmy Kimmel Live, but these video clips gave me so many hours of pleasure today that just in case there is someone else on the internet who has not seen them, I must share. I will forgive Ben for any number of Bennifers as long as he remains so willing not only to play gay but to identify himself as Matt's jilted boyfriend. *g*

Here are a bunch of photos taken around the central circle in downtown Gettysburg where six highways come together. This is the Adams County memorial in the heart of the town.

This is the Stoever-Schick Building (formerly the McConaughy-Stoever House) on Baltimore Street. It was built in 1817 and served as John L. Schick's general store during the Civil War. When the battle began in July 1863, Professor Martin Stoever volunteered his rooms here as a hospital for wounded Union soldiers.

Here's a photo of how the building looked nearly a century and a half ago. Attorney David McConaughy, who led the movement to preserve the Gettysburg battlefield, was born here.

This is the site of the original Adams County Courthouse, across the square from the 1797 Gettysburg Hotel (now a Best Western).

This is the present Adams County Courthouse on Baltimore Street, built in 1859 to house the county administration. On June 26th, 1863, Confederate troops occupied the courthouse. Five days later the courthouse served as a hospital.

The controversial Ten Commandments plaque on the courthouse. There are ongoing legal arguments about whether this violates separation of church and state.

And here's a photo of Little Round Top from last July.

Spent the evening catching up a bit on Torchwood, though I am still two episodes behind the UK. The show seems to have taken a huge step up in terms of storytelling in the second season; maybe it's because Jack has come into sharper focus after returning to Doctor Who or maybe it's the casting, but I've really been enjoying it, like the best of X-Files but with an entirely unique sensibility and characters. 'Adam' and 'Reset' spoilers: I liked the backstory we got on Gwen and Rhys as well as on Jack in "Adam," though overall it wasn't my favorite episode of the season mostly because Jack was so Doctor Who at the end, first being everyone on the team's daddy-savior, then assuming that he alone is strong enough to take what Adam offers and come out unscathed. I really felt like he got what he deserved, as sad as it was (and I'm a bit sick of it always being male family member bonding, too -- doesn't anyone in the future have a sister or mother who matters to them?)

What made the episode for me was seeing Tosh so confident, Rhys so charming and Ianto so amazing -- first fighting Adam, then believing that he was a serial killer and despising himself, and then letting Jack show him the truth. I'm liking him in particular so much better this season, and not just because he can joke with Martha about "dabbling" with Jack and how avant-garde it is. Oh, I was so happy to see her again, out of the Doctor's orbit and not suffering from misplaced adoration for Jack the way Gwen is (and all the rest of them, according to "Adam"). "Reset" doesn't have quite as creative a story, very Alien merged with The Fly and a bit of typical Evil Doctor, but it's well-paced and so nice to see Jack let someone, particularly a woman, get a risk without getting overly paternalistic. I love the scene where Martha and Gwen are comparing notes on how they're not dating Jack.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Poem for Wednesday

Near Field
By W.S. Merwin

This is not something new or kept secret
the tilled ground unsown in late spring
the dead are not separate from the living
each has one foot in the unknown
and cannot speak for the other
the field tells none of its turned story
it lies under its low cloud like a waiting river
the dead made this out of their hunger
out of what they had been told
out of the pains and shadows
and bowels of animals
out of turning and
coming back singing
about another time


This week my children are getting to experience an archetypal event dreamed about by many yet witnessed by few: the wrecking of their school. Well, it's no longer their school since they're both in middle/high school, and it's being demolished only so that it can be rebuilt bigger and better while the school's students are sent on buses to another school 20 minutes away...but it's still been a source of great amusement for all the local kids, who have been congregating and cheering across the street after getting out of whichever school they're attending now. I went to pick younger son up in the rain and there were people standing around with hoods and umbrellas watching the demolition.

My children's elementary school in mid-demolition.

Lots of local kids stood around cheering as the walls began to come down.

A giant hole has appeared in the side of the building.

Sadly for the kids, this long dreamed-of event did not get them out of attending school.

And it's noisy and creating traffic and some litter, but no one is complaining yet. says I'm a Cool Nerd God.  What are you?  Click here!

The rest of my day consisted of things like finally getting to the post office with packages I owe several people reading this, driving younger son to Hebrew school and excitement like that. After dinner we watched Ratatouille on Pay-Per-View, and it was very worth it -- I'm just sorry I didn't see it in the theater. "One can get too friendly with the vegetables!" I missed the rat talking when the humans showed up and I was worried for a while there that his family wasn't coming back and it was going to be all people! I should have realized that, this being Disney, all the other rats would turn up soon. I howled when Linguini was trying to explain to Colette that he has a very little tiny...chef, and at Gusteau's Scooby Doo corn dogs, and that they made Peter O'Toole's Anton Ego look a bit like Alan Rickman. *g* And the animation was fantastic.

Didn't watch the Democrats debate; I voted, there's nothing I can do at this point but wait and see, and the more I hear Hillary and Barack snipe at one another and one another's followers, the more turned off I get to both of them, so since I am going to vote for one of them in the fall no matter what, I'd rather wait till there's a nominee to worry about what either is saying.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Poem for Tuesday

Ginza Samba
By Robert Pinsky

A monosyllabic European called Sax
Invents a horn, walla whirledy wah, a kind of twisted
Brazen clarinet, but with its column of vibrating
Air shaped not in a cylinder but in a cone
Widening ever outward and bawaah spouting
Infinitely upward through an upturned
Swollen golden bell rimmed
Like a gloxinia flowering
In Sax's Belgian imagination

And in the unfathomable matrix
Of mothers and fathers as a genius graven
Humming into the cells of the body
Or cupped in the resonating grail
Of memory changed and exchanged
As in the trading of brasses,
Pearls and ivory, calicos and slaves,
Laborers and girls, two

Cousins in a royal family
Of Niger known as the Birds or Hawks.
In Christendom one cousin's child
Becomes a "favorite negro" ennobled
By decree of the Czar and founds
A great family, a line of generals,
Dandies and courtiers including the poet
Pushkin, killed in a duel concerning
His wife's honor, while the other cousin sails

In the belly of a slaveship to the port
Of Baltimore where she is raped
And dies in childbirth, but the infant
Will marry a Seminole and in the next
Chorus of time their child fathers
A great Hawk or Bird, with many followers
Among them this great-grandchild of the Jewish
Manager of a Pushkin estate, blowing

His American breath out into the wiggly
Tune uncurling its triplets and sixteenths--the Ginza
Samba of breath and brass, the reed
Vibrating as a valve, the aether, the unimaginable
Wires and circuits of an ingenious box
Here in my room in this house built
A hundred years ago while I was elsewhere:

It is like falling in love, the atavistic
Imperative of some one
Voice or face--the skill, the copper filament,
The golden bellful of notes twirling through
Their invisible element from
Rio to Tokyo and back again gathering
Speed in the variations as they tunnel
The twin haunted labyrinths of stirrup
And anvil echoing here in the hearkening
Instrument of my skull.


"For a little more than three years now, we've handed this space over to Robert Pinsky, a poet who is often called 'poetry's rock star' for his passionate conviction that this highest of literary arts should be loved by the most ordinary of people," noted the Book World staff at the end of Sunday's Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "As a U.S. Poet Laureate, as a professor at Boston University, and as author or editor of 19 books, Pinsky has tirelessly promoted the craft and the work of his fellow poets. And here, in Book World, in more than 150 columns, he has combined his prodigious knowledge with a sharp eye for emerging talent. We thank him for a splendid run."

Adam has finished working out his schedule for next year (he's taking Chinese), parents are home from Mexico, living room is reorganized after inheriting parents' stereo cabinet and Daniel's room is almost -- almost -- reorganized after old stereo cabinet was moved up there. (Cleaning older son's room is an experience in terror; he had four-year-old slippers and Halloween candy from god knows when hidden in a big pile of stuffed animals -- at least the candy was all wrapped but it was never allowed to be upstairs in the first place.) And yeah, you can tell what an exciting day I had, so have some photos of the mares and foals at Hanover Shoe Farms last weekend:

I am looking into buying a VR lens for my DSLR before our next trip and have to figure out which filters I absolutely must have and where I can get the best price with the US papers and warranty (the "best price" being deceptive given the number of gray market lenses on the market). Watched The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which I continue to wish I liked more than I do; I've read a few people say they think Lena Headey shows more emotional range than Linda Hamilton did, and that may very well be true, but I think Linda Hamilton's single-minded fury really served her character. Spoilers: If she had dialogue about how much Kyle mattered to her or how John is her entire life, I've managed to block it out. (She only knew Kyle for a couple of days, for pete's sake!) And if she's so brilliant at hiding, why does she have the same hair color now that she had in the mental institution? Wouldn't she have been smart enough to go blonde if she's brunette or vice versa?

I don't want to complain too much because I'd rather have the show than not, considering we lost the mediocre Bionic Woman remake and we haven't had a La Femme Nikita since, well, La Femme Nikita. Most of the shows I watch are so guy-heavy, particularly the genre series. But Sarah Connor is just not clicking for me, in large part because she's not the heroine I remember.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Poem for Monday

Is It Still the Same

young woman who climbs the stairs,
who closes a child's door,
who goes to her table
in a room at the back of a house?
The same unlighted corridor?
The same night air
over the wheelbarrows and rain-tanks?
The same inky sky and pin-bright stars?
You can see nothing of her, but her head
bent over the page, her hand moving,
moving again, and her hair.
I wrote like that once.
But this is different:
This time, when she looks up, I will be there.

-- Eavan Boland

Another from Sunday's Poet's Choice column by Robert Pinsky on the sonnet in The Washington Post Book World. Boland's poem is from her book Against Love Poetry, "14 lines without end rhyme, incorporating the title as the first words of a sentence...a deep assurance that something in culture, in art, in the art of poetry and its forms, endures to speak across distances: from one culture to another, from place to place, and across time from generation to generation."

We were going to go to the maple sugaring festival at Wheaton Regional Park and to see the orchids at Brookside's greenhouses there, but all the parking lots were packed and we finally gave up, stopped at Rodmans to get Bombay potatoes and went to Cabin John to hike a bit on the muddy paths by the creek. It was much warmer than yesterday, so a pretty afternoon to be outside, although I have no stamina at all after all the coughing I've done in the past couple of weeks.

A toy soldier shop in Gettysburg, one of several souvenir shops taking advantage of the collectible industry around the Civil War battlefield.

Dirty Billy's Hats, where one can find reproductions of hats from the Civil War and other historic eras.

One of the Gettysburg ladies' dress shops. This one also carries historically dressed fashion dolls.

The Union Drummer Boy sells Civil War weapons, uniforms and relics.

Pretty much all the food sold within a mile of the national historic site is labeled "battlefield," though I somehow doubt any Civil War soldiers ate battlefield burgers or battlefield fries.

The newly restored Majestic Theater, which presents dance, music and shows as well as independent films.

And in the Masonic Building, the fundraising thrift shop currently has a penguin display.

Since it's Oscar night, I am delighted to share this article about my Uncle Paul that was in the Sunday Washington Post, on his job as a congressional liaison working with Hollywood film teams: "Need a Senator to Promote a Film? This Aide Could Make It Happen." Of course I watched the Academy Awards -- I always do, even in years where I haven't seen the majority of nominated films like this one. As Jon Stewart said, Hollywood needed a hug this year and thank god for teen pregnancy for some humor. It's always worth it, though, for things like retro Best Actress clips with Louise Fletcher signing her thanks to her parents, retro Best Supporting Actress clips with Anjelica Huston waving to her father, etc.

I am amused that no American actors won any of the Oscars...a bit surprised that Cotillard beat Christie, Blanchett, Page and Linney, but not unhappy about it, as I loved her in A Good Year and love Edith Piaf and now really need to see the movie. I always root for Laura Linney because her father was my playwrighting professor at Penn, but I like all the women nominated this year and am totally happy Tilda Swinton won, too. I was rooting for Johnny Depp because he's owed an Oscar but it's not like Daniel Day-Lewis is ever less than superb. Otherwise I was pleased that The Bourne Ultimatum won three technical awards and I suppose I should see Ratatouille -- younger son was annoyed as a matter of principle that Surf's Up did not win, as he will always root for penguins over rats!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Poem for Sunday

Night Harvest
By Lam Thi My Da
Translated by Martha Collins and Thuy Dinh

White circles of conical hats have come out
Like the quiet skies of our childhood
Like the wings of storks spread in the night
White circles evoking the open sky

The golds of rice and cluster-bombs blend together
Even delayed-fuse bombs bring no fear
Our spirits have known many years of war
Come, sisters, let us gather the harvest

Each of us wears her own small moon
Glittering on a carpet of gold rice
We are the harvesters of my village

Twelve white hats bright in the long night
We are not frightened by bullets and bombs in the air
Only by dew wetting our lime-scented hair.


From the final Poet's Choice column by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World, in which Pinsky discusses the sonnet, "this little 14-line variable recipe" which "seems to have an endless capacity for different purposes, settings and feelings." The one above, "written when Western bombs were falling on Vietnam," is from The Making of a Sonnet, a new anthology edited by Eavan Boland and Pinsky's predecessor writing the Poet's Choice column, Edward Hirsch.

We had various family members in various states of recovery on Saturday, so after older son got back from volunteering at Hebrew school, we had pancakes for lunch, took a low-key walk at muddy Locust Grove without much climbing and visited the animals in the nature center there. So it wasn't a very eventful day, though I got a bunch of e-mail because of an awesome thing: one of the editors at Jezebel apparently found my Barbie Tarot from a link at the Feminist Law Professors blog and posted about it, with the comment "These homemade Barbie Tarot Cards are several different kinds of amazing." *bounces* Unfortunately most of the mail was from people wanting to know where they can buy the deck, which of course is not possible; I haven't even managed to print out a copy of the deck for myself. Which is probably just as well, since until a few weeks ago I was still tinkering with the images on the cards.

A big old fallen tree in front of the Locust Grove Nature Center is being carved into these three bears.

This is the stump left after the extra wood was cut away.

The front, and largest, of the bears...

...and the rear bear with a pile of the pieces carved out of the wood.

Nearby is another fallen tree whose trunk has been stripped of bark. Maybe this will get carved into more bears, or into Goldilocks.

Inside the nature center, maple sap was being boiled... remove the water and produce maple syrup.

Snicked from Gblvr, though this is so wrong it made me snicker:

I am an

What Flower
Are You?

I had a Blockbuster coupon for a free rental and the kids lobbied for Balls of Fury, to which I agreed because, you know, this is a movie that should only be watched for free. I am ashamed to admit that, as with Epic Movie, there were many scenes where I could not stop myself from snickering, though overall it's just as monstrously stereotype-ridden, heterosexist and dorky as you'd expect. (Okay, Christopher Walken in Elton John's cast-offs is hilarious by any standards.) The best thing about the DVD, though, is the bonus feature about the "ball handler" that spoofs all the pretentious extras on every DVD you've ever seen while at the same time permitting a lengthy Porky's Mike Hunt rip-off. Look, I live with two tween boys, it's not my fault if I'm laughing.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Poem for Saturday

Archaic Torso of Apollo
By Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.


An ice storm shut down the area early this morning, so in addition to having my kids home from school, I had my husband -- he saw on the news that there had been a 20-car pile-up just off I-270 and opted to work from home. It was a quiet domestic day; I wrote a review of "Peak Performance" and attempted to edit some web pages, Paul worked, the kids played various games, we all had homemade Toad in the Hole for lunch because Paul had found a recipe and wanted to try it and I never turn down Yorkshire pudding in any form! (Turkey sausage is probably cheating, but oh well.) So yeah, again, not a lot to report, not even actual snowfall as we got less than half an inch.

The Friday Five: Name five...
1. ... things you can't live without.
Cats, chocolate, moonlight, beaches, orange blossoms.
2. ... of the best moments in your life. Graduating from college and winning a big writing award, first time I saw Devil's Tower, getting married, giving birth, first time I saw Avebury.
3. ... celebrities you can't stand. Britney, Lindsay, Nicole, Mary Kate, Ashlee.
4. ... books you enjoy(ed) reading. The Fountainhead (Rand), The Leto Bundle (Warner), Forever (Hamill), The Da Vinci Code (Brown), Beggars in Spain (Kress).
5. ... items in your purse/backpack/on your desk. Desk: A pair of miniature foo dogs, a glitter lamp, a tiny statue of Shakespeare, a color-your-own Tarot deck, a little clay dragon.

Fannish 5: Five reasons a character you have a crush on/find attractive would be a bad boyfriend or girlfriend in real life.
1. Captain James T. Kirk
. The good news: apparently he's never met a woman too old, too ugly, etc. The bad news: I'd be sharing him with every other woman in the galaxy, plus Spock.
2. Captain Jack Harkness. The good news: very similar to #1, only men as well. The bad news...very similar to #1, only men as well.
3. Xena. Serious martyr complex. Also, I'm more temperamental than Gabrielle.
4. President Mackenzie Allen. She'd be the perfect girlfriend, but if someone caught her with me, it'd probably cost her her office.
5. Sean Bean. Who got married for the fourth time this week to a woman who allegedly trashed a hotel room with him in a drunken fight...but hey, I'm too old for him these days, anyway!

The historic, newly restored Lincoln Train Station in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, originally built in 1859.

Wounded Union soldiers were brought here for treatment and transportation after the Battle of Gettysburg. President Lincoln took the train to Gettysburg from Washington on November 18th, 1863 to deliver the immortal Gettysburg Address.

An old style transmitter is visible through a station window.

A historic photo of the station on the plaque in front.

My head is finally, slowly unstuffing which is all to the good, especially as I got a package of Crazylibellule & The Poppies perfume I had ordered with lots of awesome samples, including a perfume called Lady Vengeance by Juliette Has a Gun, which is just a cool name. Watched SGA's "The Kindred" which definitely had its moments. Spoilers: Ronon joking about getting Rodney a present, only to take it back when Rodney brightens and says "Really?", Teyla demonstrating that third-trimester women can kick ass, Michael freaking the hell out of me (it sucks what he did to Kanaan but he's the mess they all made of him plus he's Connor Trinneer), and my family's nerd loser moment of the evening, when the Wraith was talking about who would have spread the disease and said, "There can be only one" and we all shouted together, "THE HIGHLANDER!"

I'm sure someone somewhere is squeeing about Rodney giving Teyla HIS OWN BRILLIANCE for her baby, but I will never understand why I'm supposed to consider it appreciating intelligence rather than the unbearable arrogance that it looks like to me, particularly when directed at women. With various people shrieking about how last week's episode was racist because Teal'c and Ronon did some fighting-for-bets like characters of every background did on BSG last season -- in other words, I didn't think it was racist, and there's a whole discussion to be had about "people of color" as it applies to Klingons and other aliens at one time played largely by white actors, now cast with greater diversity which is all to the good -- I'm hoping one of the regular Rodney worshippers will consider going to go on a tear about how maybe Teyla has better things to teach her baby than what the overrated white male genius thinks her baby should learn.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Poem for Friday

Evil Eye
By Jane Shore

When my daughter was two,
watching The Wizard of Oz on television,
the moment the Wicked Witch appeared in a scene,
Emma would walk, as if hypnotized,
to the glowing screen and kiss
the witch's luminous green face
in the same placating way
my mother used to kiss the little silver hand,
the charm she wore on a chain around her neck.

The day Emma was born, my mother
bought a yard of narrow red satin ribbon.
She tied a bow, several bows,
and basted the loops together in the middle
until they formed a big red flower
she Scotch-taped to the head of Emma's crib
to protect her while she slept.
My mother made a dulpicate,
in case I lost the first one,
to pin onto the carriage hood.
"You can never be too safe," she said.

My mother used to coo in Yiddish over the crib,
"Kine-ahora, kine-ahora,
my granddaughter's so beautiful."
And then suddenly as if remembering something,
something very bad, she'd go "pui pui pui,"
pretneding to spit three times on the baby's head.

My mother wasn't some fat bubbe from the shtetl.
She owned a business, drove a car.
I'd never seen her act this way before.

Sitting at her kitchen table, she lit another Kent.
"You should have given Emma an ugly name
to ward off the evil eye.
Harvey Lebow, the brilliant young concert pianist?
The evil eye was jealous, so it killed him.
Mrs. Cohen, who won the lottery
and went on a spending spree?
A week later, she had a miscarriage.
Remember Bonnie, the doctor's daughter,
you friend who died of leukemia
when you were growing up?
Her mother wore a floor-length mink;
they had a pinball machine
in their basement rec room.
That's like an open invitation."
My mother stubbed out her cigarette.

My hand fanned the smoke away.
"Ma, You don't really believe
in that hocus-pocus, do you?"

"Maybe not," she said, "but it doesn't hurt."


I have finally seen Flushed Away, with the kids, while folding laundry, a late-afternoon sick-day distraction, perfectly delightful particularly when the slugs parody The Lady and the Tramp with the spaghetti but then one accidentally eats the other and also when the mime Marceau shows up to act out The Toad's instructions. Plus the music was great, the animated London and sewer-London were quite amusing and I forgave the rats for looking like Wallace and Gromit characters because Nick Park played the voice of one of the slugs. No, I am not developing a thing for Hugh Jackman, whyever would you ask that?

Younger son has to turn in his course registration for next year and is debating Spanish vs. Chinese for his foreign language; I'm pulling for Spanish, as his best friend is from Venezuela and Spanish is older son's best subject with no effort on his part -- he's nearly fluent after only a few years of school instruction and chatting with friends who speak it as a first language. It's more practical, given the number of Spanish speakers he knows in school and will likely meet in the job market, and it's nice for him to know there's one subject he's always aced. I'm a bit concerned that younger son may get fed up if Chinese gets difficult and want to quit the way he's lobbying at present to quit violin. He's sticking with intermediate rather than advanced orchestra for next year, which I think is the right decision; he won't be so frustrated about having to compete with kids who've been taking private lessons since they were three.

The Union Drummer Boy sells relics and souvenirs from the Civil War, the Gettysburg battlefields in particular.

Like this elaborate saddle...

...or this tree with shot buried in it.

A surgeon's kit. I imagine potential recruits were never shown these.

The store has many guns and swords... well as items like this birdcage.

This log, found in Georgia, has shot from both the North and South embedded in it.

I am so irritated at the extent to which Hillary and Barack are Playing Politics As Usual that I am unable to sit through "debates" anymore or TV networks deciding which bits of whose speeches to run. So since my state's primary is over, I am just going to ignore them and hope the party doesn't tear itself apart before the convention and give McCain an opening he doesn't deserve ("I did not have sex with that lobbyist, Miss Iseman") -- no, of course I don't care about McCain's private life, even if he did ditch the wife who raised his children while he was in Vietnam for a younger, richer one, but I would like his marriage held by his followers to the same standards that the Clintons' continues to be, to Hillary's detriment. I wish Barack's speechifying did not leave me so frustrated at their lack of substance because I really would love to vote for rather than against someone, for a change.

Right now on the news they are doing a story about how this year's flu shot isn't stopping people from getting the least I'm not alone, as apparently it's widespread in 45 states. Looks like freezing rain on Friday, kids could have delayed opening or early closing or both...guess I'll have another day at home trying to kick this thing.