Friday, January 31, 2020

Poem for Friday and Craft Stores

By Robert Francis

Words of a poem should be glass
But glass so simple-subtle its shape
Is nothing but the shape of what it holds.

A glass spun for itself is empty,
Brittle, at best Venetian trinket.
Embossed glass hides the poem of its absence.

Words should be looked through, should be windows.
The best word were invisible.
The poem is the thing the poet thinks.

If the impossible were not,
And if the glass, only the glass,
Could be removed, the poem would remain.


I had an unexpected really fun shopping day! I went to Michael's to look for a charm that I couldn't find, but while I was there, I got into a conversation about being sad that A.C. Moore is closing and I learned that there's a bead store, Accents on Beads, less than ten minutes away. So I went over to see and discovered that there's a really BIG bead store, and the cane glass and Swarovski were on a big sale! And next door is a glass store that has some beautiful pieces and teaches classes but its major focus, like hundreds of them, is fancy water pipes. Since I was on Rockville Pike anyway, I got lebneh at Lebanese Taverna for lunch, and during a long phone conversation with Alice, I also picked up hummus and pita to have with dinner, so I ate well all day. We were going to watch Inspector Morse but again PBS preempted it for impeachment news stuff, so we watched the Downton Abbey movie which I thought would be mildly entertaining. I ranted a lot below so here are just a couple of photos, more tomorrow:

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Instead was about as aggravating as I often found the show. If the whole point of the first three seasons was that Crawley couldn't leave his estate to his legitimate daughter instead of a male cousin, what changed to let a female cousin leave an estate to an out-of-wedlock daughter? Except for that upper class issue, the whole film was so obsessed with hidebound tradition that I expected an anachronistic crack at Meghan Markle. Edith whines about how instead of working, she has to be a wealthy Marchioness. Women (even princesses!) don't imagine women's equality, only the ability to manipulate their men; women with secret daughters out of wedlock are happy to pass on their privileges rather than helping other women or children in similar situations without similar fortunes. Men who love men don't imagine a society where they can all have a life together, only achieving positions to benefit themselves and their lovers. The first episode of this season's Miracle Workers in the Middle Ages is more socially progressive.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Poem for Thursday and Berruguete Sculpture

Amoretti LXXV: One Day I Wrote her Name
By Edmund Spenser

One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.
"Vain man," said she, "that dost in vain assay,
A mortal thing so to immortalize;
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eke my name be wiped out likewise."
"Not so," (quod I) "let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your vertues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write your glorious name:
Where whenas death shall all the world subdue,
Our love shall live, and later life renew."


I'm just going to keep things short this week because I am very boring. I talked to Daniel twice about things I can't talk about in public (good things, just complicating his life), I did a bunch of computer work while watching squirrels fight over birdseed on the deck, I went to the park because it was nice out.

We finally saw this week's Doctor Who, which delighted me (I know there has been screaming about whether it violates canon but I didn't know why and frankly I don't care)! And we saw The New Pope, which is, well, completely insane. From the National Gallery's Alonso Berruguete: First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain:

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Poem for Wednesday and Ellicott City Gamers

Manifest Destiny
By Cynthia Lowen

The god I'd left behind sent one last email
before returning to his people.

That summer was sixty-five degrees and fluorescent.
I was working at a law firm.

The logical mind thinks,
You'll be paid for your suffering.

Paradise is of this earth
and it is yours,
said the copy-machine.

The impenetrable old growth of paper on my desk
begged to be made

When I took off my skirt-suit I felt like my mother, or myself

done pretending
to be my mother.

I stood at the edge
of a New World.

I stared up the long rocky coast.

Whichever way was something to bump against
I pressed on in that direction.

It was like a sickness.
It was like the uncontrollable urge
to eat dirt.


Tuesday was not more exciting than Monday around here. I did some work in the morning, then I went to CVS at lunchtime to grab a couple of things and met a friend from Pokemon Go to do a lucky trade (I got a 98% Pachirisu!) and a couple of Dwebble raids in the park. It was nice out, not too cold, and we had lots of doves visiting. I watched more Crazy Ex-Girlfriend while folding laundry; at the end of the first season, I still love the musical numbers but dislike several major characters and a lot of the writing.

We watched the Arrow finale, which was somewhat hard for me to follow since we've missed the past several seasons of the show, then we watched what's either the season or series finale of Emergence, which is okay with me either way; I love the main character but there's been some terrible characterization of other female characters like the writers think it's necessary to make her look better. I took photos at the gaming store in Ellicott City for Daniel, so here are some, plus one from the antique store next door:

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Poem for Tuesday and Chinese New Year

The Rat
By Emily Dickinson

The rat is the concisest tenant.
He pays no rent, —
Repudiates the obligation,
On schemes intent.

Balking our wit
To sound or circumvent,
Hate cannot harm
A foe so reticent.

Neither decree
Prohibits him,
Lawful as


I have nothing important to report from my Monday. We had nice weather, I did some work, I did some laundry, I went to the park, I listened to a neighbor actually burst into tears while talking about Kobe Bryant and got lectured online about how insensitive I am to rape victims if the very first thing I think when I hear "Kobe Bryant" is anything other than rage about a single assault allegation from so many years ago that I had his case confused with Ben Roethlisberger's -- it's David Bowie's death all over again.

We caught up on Batwoman, which I liked (please keep Beth!), Supergirl, which I did not love (I was so afraid Winn and his man-pain was back for good, when I should have been afraid Brainy and his man-pain would not shut up), and two-weeks-back Doctor Who, which I loved (Tesla! Edison! Aliens! It was like The Prestige crossed with Sanctuary with the Doctor). Here from Lakeforest Mall's Chinese New Year celebration are some of the performances, a bit of the art show, the dragon, and some displays:

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Monday, January 27, 2020

Greetings from Ellicott City

Post-Grammy Awards quickie after a lovely day in Howard County, where Paul and I went to see Jill's new house with Cheryl and some other friends, went to brunch at Leelynn's, and drove into Ellicott City, where we inspected the status of the flood damage repairs, visited the Forget-Me-Not Factory, Gamers Corps, a couple of art galleries, and Sweet Cascades, where we got lots of chocolate-covered things! We got home in time for the Grammy Awards, though we missed a chunk while Skyping with Adam.

I'm annoyed that Lizzo did not beat Billie Eilish in several categories, but in general I was pretty out of it with music this year and I didn't even keep up with whatever went on with Dugan and the Recording Academy. My feed is a mix of people deeply mourning Kobe Bryant and people trying to remind others that he might have been a rapist -- I don't even remember what happened, given the number of prominent athletes who are or have been accused of being rapists -- so I will just say that I feel wholeheartedly terrible about his daughter and for his wife.

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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Greetings for the Chinese New Year

I'm laughing my ass off during the Adam Driver SNL (Undercover Boss! Medieval Times!) after spending the rest of the evening watching the pairs and ice dance competitions at the US Figure Skating Championships (I'm not a fan of Chock and Bates' free dance -- I'm not even completely sure whose culture they're appropriating -- but their edges are gorgeous, whereas Hubbell and Donohue skate to music I love and they're dramatic and emotive but their footwork just isn't as impressive; I'm biased toward Ponomarenko because I adored his parents but I also thought he and Carreira skated really well, so I'd have given them third and Hawayek/Baker second). So here is the rest of my Saturday celebrating the Year of the Rat, in photos:

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We met Paul's parents for lunch at Simply Asia, which was decorated for the Chinese New Year...

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...and ate so much that we decided to skip Baskin Robbins afterward, plus we brought home leftovers.

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On the way home, we were going to go hiking at Seneca Creek State Park...

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...but we soon discovered that the muddy trail warning sign did not lie, plus the bathrooms were closed.

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So we went to Lakeforest Mall, which was in the midst of its annual Chinese New Year celebration, though the mall was like a ghost town with its department stores closed...

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...and though we knew we were coming to the end times, we did not realize it was Hot Topic's last day!

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On the bright side, I did find these treasures for about a dollar apiece.

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On the way home, we had to stop at Giant, and this was the scene from the parking lot.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Poem for Saturday and South Mountain Creamery

Breaking News
By Dora Malech

As if the lucky might ride it to shore
while the others go under.

Some dogs make for higher ground,
spurred by a shake or a sound
in a frequency to which we never tuned.

Dogs’ ears rise now
to the scream of the still-black screen,
the pitch before the picture.

Breaking here means broken elsewhere.
All our instruments, and still we’re late.

It’s six o’clock. In the windows,
families flicker on,
faces splashed blue in the wake.


I had a quiet Friday doing a bunch of chores and projects not worth reporting. I went out to the park for a little while, and we had dinner with my parents and watched the US figure skating championships, but that's about all the excitement.

Now we're watching Patrick Stewart and Jamie Foxx on Graham Norton and they're razzing each other about L.A. hot spots, which is fun. Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend! Here are photos from South Mountain Creamery in December:

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Friday, January 24, 2020

Poem for Friday, 1917, Brookside

Poem for Adlai Stevenson and Yellow Jackets
By David Young

It's summer, 1956, in Maine, a camp resort
on Belgrade Lakes, and I am cleaning fish,
part of my job, along with luggage, firewood,
Sunday ice cream, waking everyone
by jogging around the island every morning
swinging a rattle I hold in front of me
to break the nightly spider threads.
Adlai Stevenson is being nominated,
but won't, again, beat Eisenhower,
sad fact I'm half aware of, steeped as I am
in Russian novels, bathing in the tea-
brown lake, startling a deer and chasing it by canoe
as it swims from the island to the mainland.
I'm good at cleaning fish: lake trout,
those beautiful deep swimmers, brown trout,
I can fillet them and take them to the cook
and the grateful fisherman may send a piece
back from his table to mine, a salute.
I clean in a swarm of yellow jackets,
sure they won't sting me, so they don't,
though they can't resist the fish, the slime,
the guts that drop into the bucket, they're mad
for meat, fresh death, they swarm around
whenever I work at this outdoor sink
with somebody's loving catch.
Later this summer we'll find their nest
and burn it one night with a blowtorch
applied to the entrance, the paper hotel
glowing with fire and smoke like a lantern,
full of the death-bees, hornets, whatever they are,
that drop like little coals
and an oily smoke that rolls through the trees
into the night of the last American summer
next to this one, 36 years away, to show me
time is a pomegranate, many-chambered,
nothing like what I thought.


I'm running late on everything tonight though it was a good day! I had a lovely long lunch with two friends at the cafe in Nordstrom, where we caught up on politics, musicals, family stuff, and various forms of fun, then I had to do a couple of chores in the mall and I stopped to do a Heatran raid so I didn't get home till after 5, right when Paul arrived, to feed our starving cats.

And then we decided to see 1917. I thought I was going to think that, after Dunkirk and Hacksaw Ridge, that it was another meaningful but violent war movie with actors I like. I had avoided reviews, so I didn't realize that it was filmed in long takes, which is so effective for propelling these events. Of the nominees, Mendes better win best director or I'm going to be really annoyed.

On the way in, we ran into a neighbor who gets CBS All Access who knows we're Trekkies, so we watched the first episode of Picard. It's neither as bad as the haters claim nor as good as the believers preach; it feels more like watching Xavier than Picard, but it's not boring. I could watch next week or not and be fine either way. Some winter flowers and outdoor color from Brookside Gardens: