Saturday, June 30, 2012

Placeholder for Saturday

Having massive storms, our power is out, I'm writing this via my mobile phone which is going to run out of battery soon and the storm warning is until 1 a.m. Had a nice afternoon with Hufflepants, dinner with my parents and younger son's girlfriend. Have a review of Deep Space Nine's "Profit and Loss" and hopefully will be back tomorrow...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Poem for Friday, Turkey Run, Health Care

By Louise Gl├╝ck

comes into the world unwelcome
calling disorder, disorder—

If you hate me so much
don't bother to give me
a name: do you need
one more slur
in your language, another
way to blame
one tribe for everything—

as we both know,
if you worship
one god, you only need
One enemy—

I'm not the enemy.
Only a ruse to ignore
what you see happening
right here in this bed,
a little paradigm
of failure. One of your precious flowers
dies here almost every day
and you can't rest until
you attack the cause, meaning
whatever is left, whatever
happens to be sturdier
than your personal passion—

It was not meant
to last forever in the real world.
But why admit that, when you can go on
doing what you always do,
mourning and laying blame,
always the two together.

I don't need your praise
to survive. I was here first,
before you were here, before
you ever planted a garden.
And I'll be here when only the sun and moon
are left, and the sea, and the wide field.

I will constitute the field.


My morning involved being happy about health care law, debating about health care law, filtering people off my Facebook feed because they made such idiotic comments about health care law (I never know whether to fall over laughing or fall over crying when someone quotes George Lucas from a Star Wars movie about how this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause, in reference to anything the Democrats accomplish). Adam went out running, then went to the pool with a friend; Daniel read me Reddit perspectives on the news, which often make me laugh just as much as Fox News. My favorite comments were from people who want to move to Canada to get away from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, apparently not realizing that Canada already has taxpayer-funded public health care a.k.a. SOCIALISM.

I am SO ready not to be sick any more. My afternoon involved climbing temperatures that made it somewhat icky to be outside, though not as bad as is forecast for the weekend. There was a little bunny looking too sleepy and hot to bother hiding from me until it decided to run into the bushes, and a squirrel who dropped a nut on my head. We watched a DS9 episode for me to review, then watched an episode of Relic Hunter, so that Jon Stewart could put the morning's news coverage into perspective, particularly the rush to report it before anyone had time to understand it (Samantha Bee: "HARRY POTTER IS DEAD, JON!" *flips page* "Oh, wait..."). Here are some photos from Turkey Run last weekend, including a spider and another toad:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Poem for Thursday and Baby Deer

By Frank Bidart

Lie to yourself about this and you will
forever lie about everything.

Everybody already knows everything

so you can
lie to them. That's what they want.

But lie to yourself, what you will

lose is yourself. Then you
turn into them.


For each gay kid whose adolescence

was America in the forties or fifties
the primary, the crucial


forever is coming out—
or not. Or not. Or not. Or not. Or not.


Involuted velleities of self-erasure.


Quickly after my parents
died, I came out. Foundational narrative

designed to confer existence.

If I had managed to come out to my
mother, she would have blamed not

me, but herself.

The door through which you were shoved out
into the light

was self-loathing and terror.


Thank you, terror!

You learned early that adults' genteel
fantasies about human life

were not, for you, life. You think sex

is a knife
driven into you to teach you that.


Uggh, my throat feels worse and my sinuses are driving me crazy and although it was gorgeous out today it's supposed to be nearly 100 degrees by Friday. Adam's girlfriend was nearly driven over by a car on her way home from health class; she came over here because it was closer than home, very shaken, while Adam was at the pool, then he spent the rest of the afternoon with her while Daniel went to play miniature golf with my mother.

I folded laundry while watching Easy Virtue because I was in that sort of a mood. We had some kind of awesome country chicken (well, fake chicken) with raisins, almonds, and tomatoes for dinner, then we watched Dallas which made me so happy by having Sue Ellen, J.R., and Cliff Barnes in a scene together -- those were the days -- then Futurama which made me happy by having a presidential election with an "earth certificate" controversy and Nixon.

Today while walking, in addition to two bunnies sharing a clover patch, I saw a deer with three fawns -- possibly the deer I've been seeing with two fawns plus an adopted addition, I've never seen a deer with triplets -- so I followed them from behind my house across a cul-de-sac, through a neighbor's yard (I went around) into the woods. Spot the bonus bunny in the sadly blurry phone photos:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Poem for Wednesday and Sailabration Science

Ro Ro Ro, Say It Ain't So
By Nora Ephron

One of the things I love about Rosie
Is how she writes these blogs
And they're poetry

When I do this
It's not poetry.
When she does it,
It is.

even if i do it in lower-case letters
like Rosie
it's not poetry

Not that I know anything about poetry:

Last year I wrote a poem.
I tried to put it in my book.
My editor said, this isn't poetry.
That was the end of my poem.
Oh well.

Also Rosie writes haiku.

I am bad at haiku
I don't understand the form
Explain it to me:

Five seven five, right?
Five words or five syllables?
I just don't get it

Is this a haiku:
I feel sad about The View
Say it ain't so Ro

Or is it just a bunch of words?

I loved The View
I couldn't stop watching.
Must-See TV, thy name is The View.
You can see why my editor was adamant I cut the poem.

I even made my husband watch.
And he did. On the treadmill.
I said, trust me, it's riveting
It's a hockey game
There might be blood on the ice
You'll see.

He had to admit it was amazing
He wasn't just being nice
He meant it
Then he went back to watching the World Series of Poker.

Would Rosie go too far?
Would Barbara have a heart attack?
And how funny is Joy Behar?
Elizabeth was the only person I knew who was in favor of the war
Not that I knew her
But I watched her every day
and fought with her
Through Rosie.
It was exciting.

Last week on Wednesday there was a big fight.
On Thursday's episode,
Before we knew that Rosie was never coming back,
Kathy Griffin said this thing that I would like to quote, although not exactly:

She said, but it's the only show where women argue about politics
Or something like that.
And it's true.
It is.
It was.
I loved it.

So I feel sad
And full of woe
I am going to miss
My Ro.


From The Huffington Post. R.I.P.

My throat still hurts but I had to get up early to take Adam to the oral surgeon to have his wisdom teeth dressings removed and make sure things were healing properly (other than some lingering soreness, he seems to be fine). The oral surgeon suggested that he stick with liquid foods since his mouth still hurts, so we came home, woke up Daniel, and went to La Madeleine for their awesome tomato soup. Adam's girlfriend is taking the required county health class and stopped by on the way home for a couple of hours while I was writing and doing laundry.

We had more soup for dinner -- cheddar this time -- then watched Queen Victoria's Empire on PBS, which had some horrifying background on Cecil Rhodes that I had never heard before -- the last time I formally studied African history was in seventh grade, when in terms of the curriculum the British could do little wrong -- and an episode of Relic Hunter that wasn't much more ethnically enlightened. At least Colbert has just made me choke with laughter about Pixar's gay agenda. Here are some photos from the Maryland Science Center during Sailabration:

Some of the best views of the Star-Spangled Sailabration were from the upper floor of the Science Center...

...which is also home to animals that live in the harbor and the Chesapeake Bay.

Here for instance is one of the endangered diamondback terrapins, used by the University of Maryland as its mascot.

And here is Adam taking a photo of one of the bay crabs.

I loved seeing tall ships ringing the inner harbor...

...and the view of dinosaurs threatening to eat tall ships.

Out front, kids were making soap bubbles...

...and people sat on the steps watching the ships.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Poem for Tuesday and Canal Wildlife

The Sun Rising
By John Donne

Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late schoolboys, and sour prentices,
Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices,
Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Thy beams, so reverend and strong
Why shouldst thou think?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long:
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and tomorrow late, tell me
Whether both the'Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear: "All here in one bed lay."

She is all states, and all princes I,
Nothing else is.
Princes do but play us; compar'd to this,
All honour's mimic, all wealth alchemy.
Thou, sun, art half as happy'as we,
In that the world's contracted thus;
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy centre is, these walls, thy sphere.


Somehow I have acquired a summer cold, even though none of my kids or their friends are sick and I can't figure out who I've been around who's been sneezing. Sigh. So I did not have a very eventful Monday, though the weather was magnificent -- it stayed in the low 80s -- and the neighborhood bunnies were all out munching grass with their noses twitching in the afternoon.

Adam went running for the first time since he had his wisdom teeth removed and felt out of shape, then he biked to a friend's house and went to his summer art class in the evening. Daniel reached some level in some video game that he was excited about and watched some more Relic Hunter with us after dinner. Here are some photos from along the C&O Canal:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Poem for Monday and Turkey Run Toads

By Marjorie Welish

The poet redirected my likeness.

She said, "Not his decadence, which is a question."
"Time," she said, declining his epidemic.
                                              As if serrated,
initiatives lost modernity: aura reared up
although bracketing pages in comparative matters.
                                                          "What time is it?"
Which is a question.
                      As if serrated,
"as if" bracketing pages.

And time again, the timing of a wrecking ball—
                                                      Which is an overture.


My Sunday involved many toads. This is because after lunch we went to Turkey Run Park in Virginia to walk along the river and see the little waterfalls, and there were many toads in the woods near the water. It was a fairly hot and sticky day even in the shade, but there was a breeze near the water and lots of lovely lush greenery.

We had brunch for dinner since we'd had a rushed breakfast -- pancakes, veggie sausage, eggs, etc. Then we watched several episodes of first season Relic Hunter, including "The Last Knight" -- the Templar one Hugh Dancy was in -- and "Possessed" -- the vampire one Jonathan Firth is in (he looks just like Colin circa Lost Empires).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Poem for Sunday and Heritage Days

Man in Stream
By Rosanna Warren

You stand in the brook, mud smearing
your forearms, a bloodied mosquito on your brow,
your yellow T-shirt dampened to your chest
as the current flees between your legs,
amber, verdigris, unraveling
today’s story, last night's travail . . .

You stare at the father beaver, eye to eye,
but he outstares you—you who trespass in his world,
who have, however unwilling, yanked out his fort,
stick by tooth-gnarled, mud-clabbered stick,
though you whistle vespers to the wood thrush
and trace flame-flicker in the grain of yellow birch.

Death outpaces us. Upended roots
of fallen trees still cling to moss-furred granite.
Lichen smolders on wood-rot, fungus trails in wisps.
I wanted a day with cracks, to let the godlight in.
The forest is always a nocturne, but it gleams,
the birch tree tosses its change from palm to palm,

and we who unmake are ourselves unmade
if we know, if only we know
how to give ourselves in this untendered light.


After the huge storms Friday night, Saturday was thankfully cooler -- only 91 degrees! I'm not entirely sure where the morning went, and at lunchtime we all went to take Adam to work at Glen Echo so we could picnic there while the 229th Army Band's Old Line Brass Quintet played in the Spanish Ballroom for Heritage Days. There are many Civil War commemorative events going on -- tours at Blockhouse Point, train exhibits -- and after we ate we went to Vienna, Virginia, where a group of reenactors had a living history encampment and where the Elkton Eclipse were playing the Chesapeake Nine in a vintage baseball tournament using Civil War-era rules, meaning no gloves, only underhand pitches, and a ball caught after a single bounce gets a player out.

The Elkton Eclipse competed with the Chesapeake Nine from Baltimore... a baseball game using rules from 1864.

Apparently there is a Mid-Atlantic Vintage Baseball League which plays such games regularly.

This game took place behind Vienna Elementary School.

Historic Vienna Inc. had reenactors demonstrating the telegraph and Civil War era crafts... well as food and drink for the baseball players.

We also heard music by the 229th Army Band's Old Line Brass Quintet... the Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo Park.

We went back to Glen Echo to pick up Adam and took him to walk along the C&O Canal where we went last weekend since he wasn't with us and we thought he'd want to take photos. It was later in the day and fewer animals were out showing off in the heat -- we didn't see the herons or snapping turtles, though there were red-eared sliders, bullfrog tadpoles, catfish, cardinals, dragonflies, and lots of songbirds. After dinner the kids had a friend over to play games, so Paul and I watched Water For Elephants, which was reasonably well acted, decently scripted (I did not read the novel), yet hard for me to sit through at times because I have a really hard time with people abusing animals even if I know it's fictional in a movie. The elephant was my favorite character.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Poem for Saturday, Sailabration, 'Playing God'

Song After Sadness
By Katie Ford

Despair is still servant
to the violet and wild ongoings
of bone. You, remember, are
that which must be made
servant only to salt, only
to the watery acre that is the body
of the beloved, only to the child
leaning forward into
the exhibit of birches
the forest has made of bronze light
and snow. Even as the day kneels
forward, the oceans and strung garnets, too,
kneel, they are all kneeling,
the city, the goat, the lime tree
and mother, the fearful doctor,
kneeling. Don't say it's the beautiful
I praise. I praise the human,
gutted and rising.


This will be a quickie because our cable is out at home following a huge storm at dinnertime so I am connecting over my phone's 3G. I was awoken early by pacing cats and spent the morning working on a review of Deep Space Nine's "Playing God" -- plus I wanted to record Eating Raoul while it was free on cable since our DVD copy from my VHS tape is terrible, and that movie never fails to crack me up. We were a bit stir-crazy in the 95-degree heat and went to the mall for lunch -- Adam and I split egg and Nutella crepes, Daniel got a sandwich, afterward I went to the grand opening of the Vera Bradley store which is very pretty but had no great bargains while the kids went to the Apple store, same problem.

Adam's friend came over when we got back and the three kids played video games for a while, then we went to my parents' house for dinner just as the storms rolled in. When we got home, we watched The Ides of March, which I enjoyed more than I expected -- I'd been warned that the women's roles would not impress me and that was true, but I thought Gosling, Giamatti, and Hoffman were all terrific and Clooney was quite convincingly detestable. Now we can't properly follow the Orioles' defeat of the Nationals nor the fallout from the Sandusky verdict since we have no cable. Here are some more photos from the Star-Spangled Sailabration last weekend in Baltimore: