By e.e. cummings
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
when the world is puddle-wonderful
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
With the exception of writing a review of Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Lonely Among Us" and the site columns for TrekToday, I spent nearly all morning and early afternoon reading Call Me Your Name, which is every bit as extraordinary as all the reviews say. It also has the hottest gay lovemaking scene that I have ever read, even though it doesn't involve sex exactly but sharing a peach. I will quote for posterity two paragraphs where the narrator, Elio, describes his emerging feelings:
The word "friendship" came to mind. But friendship, as defined by everyone, was alien, fallow stuff I cared nothing for. What I may have wanted instead, from the moment he stepped out of the cab to our farewell in Rome, was what all humans ask of one another, what makes life livable. It would have to come from him first. Then possibly from me.
There is a law somewhere that says that when one person is thoroughly smitten with the other, the other must unavoidably be smitten as well. Amor ch'a null'amato amar perdona. Love, which exempts no one who's loved from loving, Francesca's words in the Inferno.
The farewell in Rome is not a spoiler; Aciman tells the story in flashback, with the beginning summoned by the end years after the fact, so it's the journey that matters. This is one of those books that was hard for me to finish not because anything terrible happens but because it's so painfully real that I had tears running down my face and couldn't keep my glasses on. Lest anyone should think it's all heavy literary metaphors, here is another passage I adore:
If I put my foot on the floor and pretend that his is just behind the leg of the table, will that foot, like a starship that has turned on its cloaking device, like a ghost summoned by the living, suddenly materialize from its dimple in space and say, I know you've beckoned. Reach and you'll find me?" (93-4)
The rest of my day involved retrieving the kids and going out to dinner with my parents at a seafood restaurant near my father's new building to celebrate apaulled's birthday -- a night early since his parents are coming on the day, though that may be a somewhat subdued visit, as his mother's brother died of cancer on Friday and they are leaving Sunday for the funeral. I only met the uncle once and apaulled has not seen him since that same visit more than ten years ago, but his parents were just up visiting and I imagine it's always hard to lose a sibling no matter how much physical distance there may be between you. After the excellent meal -- younger son and I split lobster tails -- we went to see my father's office, then went back to my parents' for cake. I spent the past couple of hours watching Torchwood (more on that below) and am now catching up on NCAA action we missed.
fridayfiver: Not every saint is a fool
1. What do you dream about? Last night I dreamed about being at Penn with my kids and parents and meeting Jason Isaacs at Franklin Field and buying Penn t-shirts for him and his kids. I am sure this means something but I don't know what -- vaguely reminiscent of the dream I had years ago when I was in line at a food court and my kids were playing Game Boy with Viggo Mortensen's son, but pretty silly.
2. Who has been mean to you, lately? I shall keep my mouth shut in case she's reading this.
3. What makes you tremble in fear? Global warming, antibiotic-resistant epidemics, the threat of nuclear holocaust.
4. Tell us something you've destroyed: The glass I thought was microwave-safe until it exploded.
5. Do you feel in control over your life? Not really, though when I compare myself to many other people I know that I am actually quite fortunate in that regard.
thefridayfive: Another country
1. If you could suddenly speak one language fluently (that you don't currently speak) what would it be? Spanish. Though it would also be nice to speak French fluently instead of haltingly, I know far more people who speak Spanish.
2. If you were to suggest a foreign film, that you really enjoyed, what one would you suggest? Le Retour de Martin Guerre is the first film I ever saw that made me realize I could understand spoken French (the subtitles were cut off on the bottom of the screen so I had no choice but to listen). But if I only got to recommend one, it would probably be Cinema Paradiso.
3. If you had to call another country home (other than the one you currently live in) what one would you choose? I feel like I should say Israel, but overwhelmingly I want to say England.
4. If you went out to buy an import music CD, what one would you buy? I buy import music all the time -- it would probably be something Irish that I don't already know about or I'd have tracked it down.
5. If you were to choose an ethnic dinner, what would it be? I almost always choose Indian, but right now I'm having an urge for Ethiopian.
fannish5: You are given the opportunity to erase from existence five episodes, scenes, or lines of dialogue from canon. Which five get the axe?
1. The Star Trek: Voyager finale, "Endgame"
2. The scene on the last episode of the penultimate season of La Femme Nikita when we see Madeline dead.
3. Lucius Malfoy's attempt to Avada Kedavra Harry Potter in the film of Chamber of Secrets
4. "Consider that a divorce," Arnold Schwarzenegger's character's line to Sharon Stone's character in Total Recall after she tells him he won't kill him because she's his wife and he then blows her away.
5. I know I am forgetting some huge character-assassinating Kira moment from DS9's 4-5th seasons but right now I will cite Torchwood's "Countrycide," which I have only just watched this evening but is definitely up there along with The X-Files' "Home" as one of the most unpleasant hours of television I have ever watched. (It's a shame we put it on right after "Small Worlds," which I loved. I mean, it starts in a fairy ring! And I adored Jack's explanation of fairies -- immortal creatures of memory and nostalgia, though also malignant nightmares. The flashback on the train, filmed in sepia-tone with only the blood-red rose petals in color, is a magnificent piece of television cinematography, though the fairies too are spectacular in their light-bearing forms, like Arthur Hughes paintings.)
1. Do you think Dumbledore, ultimately, did the right thing by leaving Harry with the Dursleys when he was a baby? Ultimately, yes, because it is clear that Dumbledore's Grand Design is all leading to the defeat of Voldemort and he assumed that Harry would learn love and caring by osmosis or something. It's phoney-baloney but I'm sure the world will be saved.
2. What minor, non-Voldemort-related plot would you most like to see revisited? I want the werewolves explored in some meaningful way, not "they're kind of like AIDS victims except the evil gay ones like Greyback deserve whatever happens to them while the safe heterosexual ones like Remus and Bill deserve our pity" which is pretty much where things stand now.
3. Which character do you think would be most likely to betray others in their organisation (be it the Order, the DA, or even the Death Eaters)? Snape is going to have to betray one or the other, in the end. (Okay, the Order doesn't know that right now but I don't believe for a second that he's not still working for Dumbledore.)
4. Will the climax of book 7 be an epic battle? If not, then what? Yeah, epic battle, though it will undoubtedly be fought with unconventional weapons and may not resemble a conventional battle at all.
5. Will you be there for the release of book 7 at midnight? I don't know yet. I have the book on order so I don't have to stay in line all night but I might go to a party just to do it, like I did for book 6 when a local musical group I love was playing at a local bookstore.
In the past two days, all of a sudden it looks like spring has really arrived. The fact that it has been 70+ degrees surely has something to do with that. Seemingly overnight, flowers have broken out all over my neighborhood:
And this is the bouquet that was on our table at my mother's birthday dinner a couple of weeks ago.
My kids were gloating to see that The Wii is bowling over retirees. Oh dear.