December 8th, 2010


Poem for Wednesday, Holiday Episodes, Longwood Holidays

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Winter has finally arrived -- Tuesday was even colder than Monday and all I wanted to do was hibernate. Instead in the morning I folded laundry and watched Slumdog Millionaire, which I'd stalled on seeing because people had warned me that it was shocking violent in parts, particularly against women. I thought it was excellent -- superbly acted, brilliantly scripted -- but it was hard to watch, and I didn't really buy the happy ending as more than momentary. It was kind of chilly for a walk and apparently the deer agreed, but I got some air before taking Adam to tennis, at which I dropped him off before running to the mall to visit Old Navy's sale ($5 fleece blanket for the cats, $2.50 fuzzy socks for me).

I adored Sue on "When the Grinch Stole Glee" but I really didn't like much else about the episode -- why do they bother to have two token Jewish kids in glee club if they're not even going to throw in a token Chanukah song at a public school that obviously allows Christmas imagery everywhere? Oh that's right, because "diversity" on this show means having the black and Asian girls sing in the background while Rachel -- who's apparently a Jew for Jesus, or at least for Santa -- gets all the solos. But if they can do that stupid "Most Wonderful Day of the Year" song and other fluff instead of some of the really beautiful religious songs ("O Come All Ye Faithful," "Hark the Herald Angels," What Child Is This," "Silent Night" -- there's plenty of Christmas music I can appreciate musically without being Christian), they could have done "I Have a Little Dreidel" if not "Ma'oz Tzur."

Thank goodness for Warehouse 13, which did a completely delightful holiday episode (and which is coming back for a third season, yay)! Between Pete's playing at being Captain Kirk and Cookie Monster, a take on A Christmas Carol that actually has a modicum of originality, Artie's crotchety Jewish dad played by Judd Hirsch, and Claudia beginning grace at Christmas dinner with "Baruch atah Adonai...," I felt much more of the holiday spirit and much less of the commercial nonsense which tries to tell us that we don't really need packages, boxes, or bags even as we're being told to buy the soundtrack. Here are some of Longwood Gardens' indoor holiday displays, which are also light on Chanukah or Kwanzaa decorations but have plenty that reflect the pagan roots incorporated into American Christmastime:

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little review

Poem for Thursday, John Lennon, Geckos

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Lyrics above because we've spent the entire evening watching BBC America's John Lennon retrospectives. Though I was younger at the time than my younger son is now, I remember his death vividly. Not so much my reaction on the night he died, when I was sad, as I had only truly discovered the Beatles the summer before while staying with a friend in California who was a huge fan -- I don't remember a time before I'd heard a Beatles song, but I knew the pop hits, "Help" and "Eight Days a Week" and of course "Michelle," rather than the experimental songs from later, until that week in L.A. The morning after John died, when I arrived at junior high school, boys who normally wouldn't have been caught crying in public for anything were in tears in front of their lockers. I had asked for various Beatles albums for Chanukah and had received the White Album that very night (and it's a good thing too, because they sold out and disappeared from record stores for the next several weeks). I learned only after his death about John Lennon's life; before he was murdered, I knew him through his music. And although he came to epitomize the '60s and the peace movement for me in the weeks after his death, it's the music for which I am nostalgic tonight -- the songs he wrote and the songs he never had the chance to write.

Otherwise, I had a lovely day. vertigo66 took me out to lunch for my birthday -- we shared hummus and I had Thai peanut noodles at CPK, and she brought me presents -- then we wandered around in Charming Charlie for a bit. Then I stopped at CVS to pick up my holiday photo cards and a prescription. When I got home, I discovered that the academic-discount Adobe Photoshop CS5 and After Effects for Adam had arrived in time for the end of Chanukah, so he was ecstatic and after he finished his homework he attempted to teach me layer masking (I am going to need many more lessons, probably from the YouTube tutorials from which he learned). Our neighbor Rose, the one who took care of the baby bird Adam found over the summer, came over with boxes of chocolate for us and treats for the cats for Chanukah, and apaulled made latkes and salisbury steak for dinner, plus he got me The Lost Symbol: Special Illustrated Edition (I have Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code illustrated editions and like seeing the art and historical sites that Dan Brown describes). Here are some more of the geckos at the National Geographic exhibit downtown:

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