The Song of 10
By Ellen Wehle
From the Romans' decem our decibels and decimal system, O tenfold
the sorrows of Israel, Decameron tales meant to be told over ten nights
in December, solstice month frozen in moondrifts of snow. Our fingers
and toes. Kingly ten-pointed stags reigning over Europe's greenwoods,
for miners a measure in tons of coal or type of tallow candle weighted
ten per pound, the legion poor mending by its light. What else is there
to say? Higher than nine. A number whose power is mighty to multiply,
comprising one and nil, wand and egg, gold spindle and heavenly wheel
of goddess Fate who turns time and tides; what our parents say summer
evenings, hearing our voices dart and flicker in neighboring yards before
we dance from them into darkness and love's rule ends -- I'll count to ten.
It's clear that I have whined beyond my allotment for this month, so I won't talk about my morning except to say that I downloaded all the manuals for my cameras from Nikon and Canon and put them in my MDA memory so that if I go out of town and have a camera question or problem, I will have the information right there without having to haul books along. Now I just need a downloadable guide to depth of field and things like that! Hubby sent me the news that Graceland has been designated a National Historic Landmark, just in time for our visit this summer, and my cousin sent photos of her baby who is now 8 months old...it is really a shame that L.A. is so far away, though I have no desire to live there. Am amused about the Peep protest (bunnies being one thing, but people seem to be ignoring the "Happy Easter" sign aspect of the original display, though the protest seems civil and charming for once instead of the Christian Nation crap).
Kids had Hebrew in the afternoon, younger son still intermittently miserable, I spent a while rearranging the shelves our videotapes are on to make room for some DVDs (hubby not getting rid of VHS, mind you, just stacking it in all the corners of the basement), some laundry got put away. Where do people with multiple cameras keep all the USB cables, chargers, etc.? Seems silly to put it in camera bags when I don't want to schlep that stuff when I'm out of the house but I keep forgetting which cables go with which camera until I check the connectors. The piles of stuff next to my desk just keep growing and growing.
I have managed, finally, to get onto Paramount Home Video's reviewer list (only took me until the company was absorbed into CBS, heh) and they sent me the Borg Collective DVD set, so tonight we all watched both parts of "The Best of Both Worlds," which I haven't seen in I don't even know how long...might be nearly ten years. Video transfer isn't wonderful but oh, that episode hasn't aged at all. Peter David's New Frontier books are pretty much the last Trek novels that I follow -- I'm behind, but I love, love, love Shelby and it was so great to see her, and my recollection that she and Riker were really hot together remained true. After the demolished fleet shots during the Dominion War, the impact of Wolf 359 is not what it once was, but I remember when the episode was first shown and Shelby was watching the hulks float by in the graveyard, "The Tolstoy...the Kyushu...the Melbourne," how utterly chilling that was. Really, everyone is great in this episode -- Stewart, McFadden, definitely Frakes, and Deanna's "but how do you feel, Will" didn't bug me as much as it used to. I'm really glad they got married. Just about the only Trek couple who ended up the way I wanted them in the long run. Unless Shatner and Nimoy count. *snerk* Speaking of Shatner...Tuesday means Boston Legal, of course! Denny/Alan are the other "Trek" couple for whom I have plans, though I suspect they will be thwarted.
This week for instance Alan loses his mind a few times -- well, at least his command of language -- arguing a case about polluted ground water with a closing that degenerates into him talking about cheese. The doctor says he's suffering from acute anxiety, and when Alan tells Denny that he values his melancholy just like Abraham Lincoln and Lord Byron, Denny says that Alan's bucket is overflowing and he needs a vacation at Denny's spa. "I'm going to empty your bucket," Denny announces. Soon they're smoking cigars in a rose petal bath, then getting manicures and cucumber scrubs, and when Denny tries to help Alan relax, Alan takes his hand from the manicurist to hold Denny's hand, saying that it's almost as good as fishing. Alan then explains to the staring manicurist that Denny takes him nice places and buys him nice things and they like to dress up, to which Denny mutters, "Flamingoes." It's hard to tell whether he's blushing under the scrub.
Meanwhile Denise is arguing a criminal polygamy case against a man who's part of a committed trio with two women, one a homemaker, the other a working mom. The one who works testifies about how wonderful it is to have a wife who cooks for her and takes care of the children, to which the judge sighs that it sounds wonderful before the prosecutor objects. The other woman talks about how hard it is to raise children and how nice it is sometimes to send her husband to have sex with the other woman while she reads the paper and takes a bath. Denise argues that the anti-polygamy laws were written to protect women in an era when they depended on husbands for income and to stop elderly men from dividing up young girls among them, but now divorce is more disruptive to families, with which the clearly attracted though angry prosecutor agrees. In the closing, he insists that a billionaire could marry a hundred women and claim them as dependents without the law, doing the "family under assault" routine, while Denise insists that the good old days of one man, one woman also meant one race and putting this polygamist in jail would accomplish the very harm the anti-polygamy laws set out to prevent. She loses, but the prosecutor agrees not to seek jail time if the women will agree to divorces and living in sin, and then the prosecutor asks Denise out to dinner.
Meanwhile Brad has this week's serious case, as a friend from Annapolis is being sued by a woman whose son died after playing a video game made by his company. The child played for 36 hours straight while the mother was running around between two jobs and trying to sleep. It's a really big money case and Shirley and Paul are very happy Brad brought this business in to the firm, and the friend wants to settle in arbitration before going to court, but the mother insists that her son was physically addicted to this game and had a heart attack from his inability to stop playing it. Brad argues that all video games increase dopamine levels in the brain, it's the whole point of video games, and although he is uncomfortable with the fact that Chris wants to bury evidence about tests his company had done and didn't tell Brad that they had hired a psychiatrist to see if they could make the games more compulsive, he argues that he has a friend who's addicted to crystal meth and frankly he finds it insulting that someone would claim the urge to keep playing a video game is a true addiction. The prosecutor argues that lots of people died before someone finally found a cigarette company liable for making a product that is addictive and does kill, but Brad wins and when he tells the boy's mother that he's truly sorry, she says she's sure Brad will be sorry about the next one too.
And over at the spa, Alan and Denny are both attracted to the same woman but when Alan flirts with her, he loses his ability to form coherent sentences again. (She's reading The Da Vinci Code -- the film of which was advertised during this episode -- and Alan says Da Vince was brilliant enough in his own right without having had to be the Karl Rove of the 15th century, hahahaha.) Alone with Denny, who tells him that he should use his messed-up words to his advantage like Denny does, Alan tells Denny to put his narcissism aside for a moment and try to imagine what it's like for a person to be losing his mind. Then he apologizes, but Denny says that now he sees all this time when he thought Alan was empathizing, he was only sympathizing. He storms out (wearing the ugliest pink sweater EVER) to go get a massage, which Alan interrupts, lying on the floor to say that he has always empathized with Denny's Mad Cow. "In a seismic shift of character, I was momentarily thinking only of myself." Alan admits that he's terrified of being fired from the firm (he was hoping to ingratiate himself sexually with Shirley, but she rebufs him) and says he doesn't relish his freedom to walk away anymore. "I'd miss you, Denny." Denny calls him a liar, says Alan thinks he has to be around to protect Denny from himself and that's why he's suffering from anxiety, "you feel trapped and I'm the reason, Denny Crane has never needed anybody!" Alan insists that that is a tragedy for which he empathizes as well as sympathizes, but Denny tells him they shouldn't stay friends.
And to continue with the seismic shift department, Brad gets a visit from Paul, who congratulates him, then asks Brad to please stay away from Rachel. He knows that Brad is attached but explains that as part of the twelve-step program, people are supposed to focus on mending their lives rather than trying to build new relationships. "Don't make her more susceptible to returning to drugs. I am strongly suggesting that you stay away from her," Paul says. And Brad nods. Back at home, Alan goes out onto the balcony in a robe like the ones from the spa. Denny is already there. "So I worry about you a little; is that so bad?" demands Alan. "With my night terror, clown phobia and now word salad, you don't worry about me?" He warns Denny that they can't rely on the kindness of strangers, but Denny does not reply. Alan adds that he's only going to say this once, and he doesn't want to repeat it, but "I need friendship. I especially need this one." Then he realizes that Denny has his iPod buds in his ears and thinks he couldn't hear, though Denny says, "I heard every word. The thing isn't on." It comforts him that Alan needs his friendship, says Denny; "You got it." Alan is still afraid that he'll be fired and banned from premises, but Denny insists that Alan can come up the service elevator, for which he has a key. In the end -- I am not making this up -- as Alan and Denny smoke, the camera pulls away and "Stand By Your Man" plays. ("Stand by your man/And tell the world you love him/Keep giving all the love you can...") Is it any wonder that this is my favorite show on TV?
Cardinal in tree with yellow flowers this weekend at Meadowside Nature Center.
Being unhappy is exhausting. I move more slowly, I think more slowly, I type more slowly...I seem to be behind on everything. Tomorrow I need to do something happy early in the day so there's some hope for later.