Buddha In Glory
By Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Steven Mitchell
Center of all centers, core of cores,
almond self-enclosed, and growing sweet--
all this universe, to the furthest stars
all beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.
Now you feel how nothing clings to you;
your vast shell reaches into endless space,
and there the rich, thick fluids rise and flow.
Illuminated in your infinite peace,
a billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that
will be, when all the stars are dead.
I've had one of those vague weather headaches all day where I'm not sure how much is from the front coming through -- originally forecast to bring us lots of snow but all I saw here were a few flurries that didn't stick -- nor how much is from the pollen count which is rising despite the snow! Driving the kids to Hebrew school in the afternoon, there was white in the air, and at first I thought it was more snowflakes but it turned out to be petals from the white flowering trees that line that street. I had a fairly quiet morning: my trial of MacDrive ended at noon, so I had to get things transferred off the hard drive from my brother-in-law by then, and I didn't even get into the shower until after noon. Then I wrote articles on Grand Slam and Pocket Books' plans for Star Trek's 40th anniversary...lots of reissues of things I have owned for decades, lots of stuff I am not interested in reading, and then a few that I am: David R. George's Kirk/Spock/McCoy trilogy, Diane Duane's last Rihannsu book and Margaret Wander Bonanno's Christopher Pike novel.
Our local university channel had In the Steps of Shakespeare: London and Stratford on Avon on in the evening so I subjected my family to it, as the kids had finished their homework and were angling for computer games they don't get to play on school nights while there was (thankfully) no basketball. It wasn't terribly well filmed (cheap video) but there were many gorgeous shots of landmarks in London and around Shakespeare's home town, plus some discussion of the "who wrote the plays" controversy and Elizabeth I's taste in drama. Then, of course, we watched my Tuesday night usual, Boston Legal. The most entertaining story this week concerned a professor, Clifford, who is getting divorced and wants to keep his Victorian erotica collection so he can make it a legacy to the world in a museum. His ex-wife has part of it, he explains to Shirley -- books, pictures and machinery, the latter of particular interest as it was the beginning of the machine age, though Clifford considers the internet just porn.
Shirley says that if Clifford acquired the collection during his marriage, then Natalie is entitled to a portion of it, but he finds this unacceptable. Just then Natalie walks in with her lawyer...Ivan, Shirley's ex who got married a few episodes back. As Clifford explains that he wanted Shirley (to be his lawyer), Ivan adds that he wanted her too. Neither Natalie nor Clifford is willing to change lawyers. So Shirley and Ivan meet privately, where Ivan explains that his honeymoon was great...and he is having an affair. With Shirley. Surprised, Shirley says that so far it isn't good for her. Ivan insists that he's more emotionally involved with Shirley -- he's emotionally cheating on his wife -- and asks her to consider making it physical. She says, "Go home to your wife, Ivan." When Denny finds out, he tells Shirley that she's his girl, but advises her to go for it with Ivan, saying that either Ivan's wife won't find out (in which case Shirley will be fine) or will find out (in which case she'll have learned the truth about Ivan before he has an affair with some other woman). However, he thinks Shirley should consider having an affair with someone else, too. "Was that too subtle? I meant me!"
Meanwhile Denny discovers that Paul is busy taking care of Fiona and delegates the job of meeting with the building manager to Brad, but Brad doesn't offer a bribe nearly big enough to get the necessary maintenance taken care of. When Shirley asks Paul about his schedule, he explains that he is now acting as the single parent to a three year old and his priorities are different: "This firm doesn't seem so important." We know things have really changed when Denny announces that he has things under control and Paul should take all the time he needs, and Paul agrees. Of course things fall apart. Shirley visits Denny, who notes that she is panting and asks whether it's because of him. She says it is; she had to climb the stairs, because the elevator isn't working, because Paul didn't meet with the building manager to perform his usual magic. (Denny adds that he always climbs the stairs; "The elevator is for Democrats.") Things go from bad to worse and Denny finally shows up in Paul's office, holding letterhead that reads "Crane, Poole, Schmidt & Lewiston." He tells Paul that a simple "'Thank you, oh kind and benevolent leader' will suffice," and thinks Paul is trying to play hardball when Paul doesn't jump for joy, but Paul says it figures that this is what Denny thought he always wanted and he needs to rethink his priorities. He expects to be back when Rachel gets out of rehab but in the meantime Denny have to think before he talks for a change.
Ivan gets Natalie to agree to give up the entire erotica collection, including five volumes of The Pearl from which he reads aloud to Shirley while Clifford recites along with him, but Natalie will not give up the Hysteria Machine so it's off to court they go. The Hysteria Machine is a very early vibrator, which Clifford presents to the judge with an explanation of how it came to be developed as a cure for female ailments (i.e. unsatisfied arousal, which was associated with a "wandering womb" which is what hysteria literally means but they didn't explain all of this in the episode, I just happen to know a lot about the history of sexual medicine and vibrators *g*). The judge's expression when Clifford explains that a doctor invented it because his arm got tired "massaging" his female patients is priceless. Shirley asks Clifford whether he intends to donate this item to a museum, allowing everyone to get greater pleasure from it, and the judge agrees that Clifford seems to have more altruistic motives for wanting it than Natalie, who has a more specific personal motive, so Clifford wins the suit.
Then Natalie claims that the vibrator was stolen out of her car on her way to turn it over. Shirley insists on a police report. When Ivan points out his client could go to jail if the device is altruistically returned, she retorts that that's a tribute to the risks some people are willing to take for momentary pleasure. Ivan says this just proves they're all sexual animals and asks if she admires him for acting on his instincts, but Shirley again tells him to go back to his wife and suggests that he needs to grow up. "I love you Shirley," he says. She says, "I love you too." Of course Ivan retrieves the machine, which Shirley turns on to make sure it's the original. While they watch it heat up, Ivan tells her that he left his wife and asks if she'd like to see his attachments. No. Later Denny and Ivan face off in the hallway, with Denny sayig that they have something in common -- a hell of a woman -- and something else in common -- "We're both bleeding men." He then proceeds to develop a hilarious analogy about how the star of a show doesn't have just one leading lady, that's no way to hold viewer interest, next week someone else will be there. "You're not going to hurt her, Ivan." And Denny storms off.
While all this has been happening, Alan has been helping Catherine try to rescue a friend relegated to a horrible hospital by her court assigned guardian, who apparently makes a living off getting guardianship of elderly people without families, having them declared incompetent and selling off their property for his own gain. Alan has the guy tied up by thugs to show him how it feels to be helpless, then wrests guardianship of the woman from him. When he goes to meet Denny for drinks and cigars, Denny asks whose ass Alan kicked and why people don't use violence to solve problems more often: "Works every time." Alan says he's disturbed by his own appetite for the guardian guy's fear and says he wanted to do something more clever, a quick fix, a phone call. He wonders what he's turning into. "Denny Crane!" declares Denny Crane. "I think I'm still a long way from that," objects Alan, but Denny assures him, "Don't you worry. You'll get there."
Sorry if there are many typos in that, my headache has gone from mild to grinding while typing it up. I had better go to bed.
These were therefore the best photos I could get!
Wednesday both kids have dentist appointments right after school, then older son has Hebrew tutoring, so I will be running around like a chicken without a head. Forgive me if I am slow to answer stuff! And it's William Shatner's 75th birthday, and his TV Land special is on tonight!