By Wilfred Owen
Under his helmet, up against his pack,
After so many days of work and waking,
Sleep took him by the brow and laid him back.
There, in the happy no-time of his sleeping,
Death took him by the heart. There heaved a quaking
Of the aborted life within him leaping,
Then chest and sleepy arms once more fell slack.
And soon the slow, stray blood came creeping
From the intruding lead, like ants on track.
Whether his deeper sleep lie shaded by the shaking
Of great wings, and the thoughts that hung the stars,
High-pillowed on calm pillows of God's making,
Above these clouds, these rains, these sleets of lead,
And these winds' scimitars,
-Or whether yet his thin and sodden head
Confuses more and more with the low mould,
His hair being one with the grey grass
Of finished fields, and wire-scrags rusty-old,
Who knows? Who hopes? Who troubles? Let it pass!
He sleeps. He sleeps less tremulous, less cold,
Than we who wake, and waking say Alas!
I spent a huge amount of this morning making a photo book for my younger son for Chanukah, full of photos of himself and penguins from our trip. I hadn't really intended to do this all today -- I have a Shutterfly coupon but it's good for a month -- but I was having fun writing captions and playing with layouts and backgrounds and stuff, and now I have a kick-ass penguin book and am contemplating making London and Yorkshire trip books and maybe some big generic cheesy thing for my parents. I have no patience for actual scrapbooking -- cutting and gluing and not being able to change my mind later doesn't really make me happy -- but I love doing electronic calendars and books and stuff.
Other than that, my afternoon was occupied by kids' homework, lecturing younger son's difficult best friend for writing his name in the newly-finished wet cement of the sidewalk in front of our house (was woken at some ridiculous hour by jackhammering to get old cement out) and writing some Star Trek news. Hey, locals: Broadcasting & Cable says we are getting the remastered Star Trek on WDCA (formerly UPN 20) which will air it Sundays at 2 p.m. -- DC was the last major market to be signed both in the top 10 and in the top 50. And very rich people can buy Gene Roddenberry's birthplace in El Paso or James Doohan's last house in the Seattle suburbs. Also, MooreRon fans: Mr. Galactica wrote an editorial on what Star Trek has meant to him ($$$$$$ oh yeah and ideology) in yesterday's New York Times.
Tonight's clouds post-sunset from in front of my house.
In the evening, after we had Ledo's Pizza for dinner because younger son's school was doing a fundraiser there, I spent far too much time in front of the TV. Into Thin Air was on, and I'd never watched it because I loved the book and it got such bad reviews, but there are people in the cast I like and I was kind of in a real-life disaster movie mood, if such a thing is possible. This actually played more like a horror movie, though, except in a horror movie, while you can make educated guesses about who is going to die based on how they act, you can't really know; in Into Thin Air I could name every person who was going to die, and even though I knew it was a dramatization and the actors were not the real people, it was still hard to watch. Not all that badly done -- Boukreev wasn't as much a villain as Krakauer made him in the book, and Fisher was a real hot dog, and Hall compromised his principles and paid dearly. I was sorry Ed Viesturs and the rescue of Beck Weathers wasn't included, because that's my favorite part of stories about those weeks on Everest, but maybe the producers figured that even people who hadn't read Into Thin Air would know about that from the Everest IMAX.
Well, then we watched the Steve Irwin tribute. I cried through the half of it when I wasn't laughing, because it was so warm and funny and Irwin was so unpretentious and willing to laugh at himself. There were a lot of people I utterly adored seeing -- Russell Crowe, David Wenham, Hugh Jackman, even Kevin Costner for whom I have a sad weakness -- and my kids liked The Wiggles guy. Irwin's father and best friend were heartbreaking. It was kind of shocking to see his daughter so upbeat, particularly since Terri didn't really participate; I keep wondering whether that kid is going to come to resent this world she's inheriting at such a young age after having her father taken from her. Despite being devastating the tribute was really positive, shamelessly cheesy with the flowers spelling "Crikey" and seemed very appropriately Steve Irwin to me. My kids were fairly chatty through the whole thing and I thought they were dealing with it at the sort of distance I generally feel when a celebrity dies, then younger son put his blanket over his head and cried inconsolably for several minutes at the end. I probably would have cried longer had Boston Legal's season premiere not been on immediately afterward, and who can cry when Jerry Espinson is being arrested for having a sex doll in his passenger seat in the carpool lane and attacks the police when they impound it?
I am still pretty uncomfortable with the whole host of social dysfunctionalities being attributed to Jerry as a result of Asperger's; his intimacy issues are a whole different kettle of fish, it isn't that he has tactile issues related to sensory integration disorder or some of the things that sometimes go along with autism. And, I mean, Alan has some similar issues, though they manifest in him having mindless sex with Marlene in a closet instead of being a middle-aged virgin. I am so relieved that Marlene is gone and Denise is back, I really thought at the end of last season that they might be setting up to have Marlene as the new shallow bitch and sending Denise off to marry Daniel! Though I am really relieved that that is not happening even with her remaining on the show, and I must admit that my favorite scene of the entire episode was when Brad went storming into her office miserable that she was collecting friends with benefits and marriage proposals at the same time, and Denise says, "I'm in love with a man who is dying, lucky lucky me...I don't want to love him but I do." She clearly doesn't like hurting Brad, and Brad is clearly hurting, and I want them to have consolation sex as soon as possible. Onscreen.
Shirley really has Daniel's number, though she defends him well anyway, and really Denise does too (I loved Shirley's line to the guy whose lung Daniel is trying to buy when he says he made it through the angry stages of grief to acceptance, and Shirley says the final stage is profiteering!) Meanwhile Alan is confessing his discomfort with Jerry's affair with a sex doll (when Alan says Jerry calls his doll "her" and treats it as a loved one, Jerry says Alan has just described every man's relationship with his car) and Denny confesses that he, too, has a doll...Shirley Schmidthole! "Here's the thing about rich people, Alan, we get whatever we want," announces Denny. Which as far as he's concerned should include droit de seigneur where Denise and her wedding are concerned. Daniel is asked in court whether rich folk play by different rules; he says "Same rules, more toys." The prosecution claims Daniel is trying not to play by the rules, and by compromising the fairness of the distribution of organs, he may make people less likely to become organ donors. Shirley counters that if we can sell our bodies for medical experiments or our eggs for infertility, why can't we trade in kidneys and lungs the way firefighters and police do for one another?
Meanwhile Alan gets Jerry to see his former sex therapist Joanna, who tells Jerry that his non-consummation with the doll just indicates that he wants intimacy more than sex. She suggests a session where they just lie in bed naked together and offers to hold him, but the cops burst in and arrest them. Alan's secretary goes to find Alan, assuming he's in the closet fucking Marlene, but when she opens the door she finds Denny with his Shirley doll! It doesn't take much for Alan to convince a judge (Armin Shimerman! who sadly is not in any scenes with Rene Auberjonois) that in a society that spends billions of dollars on sexual dysfunction pharmaceuticals, Jerry wasn't doing anything illegal, but when Alan tells Denny he feels so badly he got Jerry and Joanna both involved in a case that will probably make the evening news, Shirley comes storming in to ask Denny whether he really has a doll in her likeness. Denny insists that she should be flattered, "to be a sexual prop is every woman's dream." Upon seeing the doll, who is wearing the same outfit Shirley happens to be wearing that day in the office, Shirley says she feels degraded and humiliated. Denny, who declares innocently that he's just objectifying her for pleasure, asks if she's jealous of the doll.
During the cigar session at the end, Alan confesses to Denny that his mother wasn't a particularly doting woman but every fall before the school year began, she measured him for his pants hems with her hands on his leg and inseam. "You had a thing for your mother!" says Denny. Alan insists that it wasn't sexual, but her touch was loving and not only is this why he buys so many suits, he thinks it is indicative that he is starved for a little tenderness. Denny says, "Let me take you fishing again." God I love that -- not that it makes up for his revolting sexually harrassing misogynistic behavior, but both Shirley and Denise can wipe the floor with Denny so easily that I can't get offended on their behalf when they can't be arsed to get really offended themselves. But it ends on a rather somber note, Alan asking Denny if he ever gets lonely, Denny trying to duck the question, then lying and saying, no, you? And Alan says no as well, "guess we're both lucky that way." But Alan isn't smiling and there's none of the "we have each other" dialogue that usually occurs at such a moment. He could have gone over and snuggled Denny -- Denny wouldn't have minded, really!
I know I haven't been around on chat much. Having had enough wank of my own, am hiding from other people's wank. Much easier that way. Will try to get my shit back together soon.