By Tess Gallagher
The quilt has slipped
my shoulders. And when
you kiss the knots
in my fate like that
it's as if a lynx
co-exists with a housecat.
Give me winter for constancy
and looking back: most silent because
Teach me how to shed
this cold devotion
by which memory
is exchanged for alertness.
Come and go with me -- sickle,
black tail lashing this
transparent net of birdsong.
The poem is a rerun from the month I got this journal, because I was in the mood for it after watching The Island of Doctor Moreau tonight, having taping it off Encore this morning. I knew David Thewlis, Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando were in this movie but I had read a few comments that it was very bad and did not do justice to the H.G. Wells novel (which I will admit I never read; The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds are as far as I delved into Wells, plus film versions of The Invisible Man). And it's definitely not John Frankenheimer's best work, and the screenplay has some extremely strange dialogue, but the movie is nonetheless entirely gripping -- it's about a U.N. negotiator lost at sea in a plane crash who is improbably rescued and taken to an island where a scientist is cross-breeding humans and animals to try to breed violence and malice out of people. Needless to say, the experiment is a spectacular failure, but this is one case where film violence actually seems appropriate to the material. The religious and social implications, the pacing of the adventure story, and the performances of Brando, Thewlis and Kilmer as well as an underutilized Fairuza Balk make it worth watching. Mind, though, it's upsetting: an hour later I'm still kind of shaken up by parts of it.
Anyway, that was my nighttime laundry-folding and goody-bag-stuffing distraction (younger son's birthday party is on Sunday; he wanted Star Wars-themed plates, bags and candy, but Pirates of the Spanish Main card games as the main party favors). Earlier the whole family had gone to his soccer team's end-of-season party, though technically the season does not end until the make-up game on Saturday for a match that was rained out. His team is in first place, and if they win and the other team tied for first place loses, they will be in sole possession of the league championship as well as the sportsmanship award, which would be nice. I think they'd be just as happy if they tied: it's the parents who want them to win! The party was at a local outdoor swimming pool with a canopy for picnics, so there was pizza, cake and what passes for water polo among nine-year-olds.
Speaking of science fiction, here is my retro review of "The Naked Time", which I love more than I believe I expressed in this review even though I had lots of nice things to say. I outed myself as a K/Ser, which I doubt will surprise anyone who has been reading my reviews at the Trek Nation for any length of time; I want to be able to note which episodes have subtext that I noticed as a preadolescent before I had any real concept of gay sex per se, because it would be ridiculous for me to try to pretend that that is not one emotional context in which I watch the episodes now -- and both Roddenberry and Shatner made it clear that they were well aware certain scenes could and would be seen as carrying emotional and sexual connotations for viewers that they did not directly intend -- for instance, here's Roddenberry writing from Kirk's POV in the novel of ST:TMP: "I was never aware of this 'lovers' rumor, although I have been told that Spock encountered it several times. Apparently, he had always dismissed it with his characteristic lifting of his right eyebrow, which usually connoted some combination of surprise, disbelief, and/or annoyance. As for myself, although I have no moral or other objections to physical love in any of its many earthly, alien and mixed forms, I have always found my best gratification in that creature called woman." Best, indeed.
And speaking of slash, Russell did a perfectly charming job of slashing himself with Conan O'Brien on last night's show. (I watched it in the morning -- I was supposed to have lunch with twindledru chez elle, but between preparations for the afternoon and needing to get work done I had to postpone.) Russell came on and immediately said that he had run into Conan's band leader -- Max Weinberg, formerly of Springsteen's E Street Band -- somewhere or other and had reminisced about being "on this very couch." Immediately Conan joked that he wasn't going to tell anyone about that, it was before Russell was famous, and Russell jumped right in with how unforgettable it had been. Later Russell was making the "I had to call my wife" excuse and asked Conan about his marriage, and Conan said, "It's not the same as with you," and again Russell went with it and joked that women were a whole different thing, and they agreed that things just weren't the same before pretending that they didn't know they hadn't cut to a commercial. I mean, can you imagine, oh, say, Tom Cruise joking about his gay past with any talk show host? Tom's more defensive in the new EW about how he's really truly over the moon with Katie than Russell is about having thrown a telephone, which is pretty sad.
Louise Fletcher fans: a certain goddess who shall remain nameless (okay, seleneheart) sent me a copy of Louise's article for House Beautiful on the farmhouse she renovated in France. Here it is. I was going to rant about cigarette settlements and NASA, but I'm still way out of the mood to talk about anything real here. So instead I shall post party pictures. Have a great weekend!
Marco! Polo! Marco! Polo!
I'm too sexy for my suit, too sexy for my suit...
And the judges' scores for this dive are...oh, never mind.
A younger sibling suffers from cake envy.