By Nikki Giovanni
(for Sally Sellers)
Like a fading piece of cloth
I am a failure
No longer do I cover tables filled with food and laughter
My seams are frayed my hems falling my strength no longer able
To hold the hot and cold
I wish for those first days
When just woven I could keep water
From seeping through
Repelled stains with the tightness of my weave
Dazzled the sunlight with my
I grow old though pleased with my memories
The tasks I can no longer complete
Are balanced by the love of the tasks gone past
I offer no apology only
When I am frayed and strained and drizzle at the end
Please someone cut a square and put me in a quilt
That I might keep some child warm
And some old person with no one else to talk to
Will hear my whispers
Spent the whole day in the house with Adam and blowing fans. Made him four cups of instant soup, three pieces of peanut butter toast, fetched him popsicles and later yogurt, watched Surf's Up (which was released on DVD today and which apaulled brought home at lunchtime) while folding several massive laundries that consisted in large part of every towel we own, tried to prevent cats from chewing on the drainage tubes from the dehumidifiers which are clear and have bubbles moving through them and are therefore the Most Exciting Things Since Long Threads Loose On Clothing. Did I mention that between the cats and the fans, I only got about three hours of uninterrupted sleep? Daisy and Rosie both decided they needed to sleep with us -- Rosie across my feet, Daisy on apaulled's pillow right above his head -- and we had to leave a night-light on in the hall in case Adam needed a bathroom run, so my brain is completely fried.
The state of things: carpets feel dry to the touch but I have no idea how they'll test for mold/mildew/whatever. Wood beams look dry but I have no idea how they'll test for rot. Hopefully Adam will be well enough to go to school tomorrow so I can get things done for a bit and get out of the house, because Thursday and Friday we have various insurance and repair people coming. Actually managed to watch Boston Legal despite the fan noise, and enjoyed it more than the first two this season -- Alan deeply passionate on a political issue and a cracky cockfighting case where Carl ends up making an Alan-style argument that's quite persuasive, even if the psychology-related case is much too abbreviated and nearly frivolous.
Alan represents a fifteen-year-old who got HIV from her first boyfriend after getting abstinence-only sex education, a case that could have seemed contrived no matter how strongly I feel about the issue had the young actress not been so good. And Alan gets in some zingers -- when he thinks at first that she wants to sue over a pregnancy, he warns her that abortion will only remain legal in this country until the Supreme Court reaches its third trimester -- but once he sees what a fighter the girl is, he's very upset about her situation. She tells her parents, "Somebody has got to make some noise about this!" when they worry about the publicity, and Alan tells the parents he suspects that the girl would regret not bringing a lawsuit considerably more than she will regret bringing one. Shirley says that because the case touches on women's rights, he should have a woman lawyer working with him and sends him Lorraine. ("Is that a problem?" "Absolutely not.")
Lorraine is terrific on the stand questioning the girl's principal, getting in statistics about teens who pledge abstinence being just as likely to have sex and far more likely both to get an STD and to spread it to new partners. The principal says she should take it up with her congressman and the girl herself agrees that it was stupid to have spontaneous sex with no protection whatsoever, but she was taught that condoms really don't do any good anyway. The defense attorney tries the "if she hadn't had sex, she wouldn't have HIV" argument, which is really just a set-up for Alan, who goes on a tear about the US teen pregnancy rate, faith based moral mandates and the effectiveness of the condom, which he says is arguably the most important invention of the past 2000 years. (Interesting how AIDS has changed the male perspective on the value of prophylactics...I still remember when people said the same of the Pill for women.)
Alan ends up lecturing about how one-time unprotected sex can kill you, a condom can save you, every child in the world should be taught that, and the scene works because he's as steaming mad as we've ever seen him, though he describes himself as profoundly sad. He manages to convince the crotchety old man judge, who says that in this sad day when sex seems to be everywhere, condoms are more important than seatbelts and orders the school both to teach sex ed and to pay more than half a million dollars even though the girl wasn't asking for damages. Alan celebrates by having sex with Lorraine in an elevator (with no discussion of condoms that we hear beforehand).
Meanwhile Denny and Carl are having a cock fight over Shirley...well, actually they're defending a Mexican immigrant accused of cock-fighting, with Denny betting Carl $200,000 that he'll lose the case. The cop describing the arrest describes seeing "a dead chicken viciously pecked to death by a killer cock...his," pointing to the defendant, Obispo. The penis jokes keep coming thick and hard...um, you know what I mean. Obispo, who can't speak English, is translated by a nun as he explains that cock-fighting is part of Mexican culture; he came to the greatest country in the world because it embraces the cultures of other lands, and he named his prize rooster "Ronald Reagan" after his personal hero. When Carl asks whether the sport isn't cruel, Obispo compares his fighting cocks to troops in Iraq -- "God bless the troops." (The rooster was put down by the police department, leading Carl to snap that they use the term "rescue" rather loosely when it comes to these animals.)
The storyline is floating along as pure hilarious crack with Obispo wishing he could hold that big warrior cock in his own two hands once more, leading everyone to stare at the translator nun, but then Carl gets up to close. He describes in graphic detail the brutal lives and horrible deaths of feed chickens, pointing out that the "abused" roosters who cock-fight get real food and freedom to move, plus they're loved as pets. Ridiculously, the jury finds the defendant not guilty -- sure, Obispo is a lot more sympathetic than Frank Perdue, but that doesn't mean that cock-fighting can't be just as cruel as the food industry -- I think it's mostly so Denny can say they'll appeal because he lost the bet. The points about the treatment of livestock could be made without letting cock-fighters off the hook in the name of cultural relativism!
And in the dopey case of the week, which is mostly an excuse to develop Jerry's crush on Katie, the widow of one of the murder defendant from last week's previous lawyers comes in to sue his psychologist because her husband killed himself after therapy made him confront memories of childhood abuse. Jerry is confident of a settlement before going to court but in the meantime he asks Alan for advice about Katie, who is impressed with Jerry's negotiating skills and calls him the dog's bollocks. Still, when he brings her flowers and asks her to dinner, she says she assumes he means only as colleagues, and he swallows his disappointment and agrees.
In his conversation with Jerry, Alan says at first that office romances are treacherous, which is kind of funny given the massive soap opera that is Crane, Poole and Schmidt. Alan confesses his own feelings about Lorraine, but then he tells Jerry, "The heart can be a real bastard," and calls himself the worst possible counsel on love -- "I seem to be missing a love gene." This is the same man who has told Denny he loves him twice in the past year.
But Alan thinks he should be sadder about breaking up with Gloria after six months, though Denny assures him that Gloria was a cold-hearted bitch, yet Denny never told Alan because Alan needed to find out for himself. Then Denny reveals that since Alan obviously cares for Lorraine, Denny wants to date Gloria. Alan says, "I thought you said she was a cold hearted bitch!" Denny replies, "I like that!" Then Denny goes on, "Aren't women just the best? I love them all. They all love me." Alan guesses that it's good to be Denny Crane, and Denny says that it's not bad to be Alan right now either, at which point Alan is forced to admit that he has his moments. Sinatra's "Sweet Lorraine" is playing in the background.
Am way way behind on Star Trek news but I see that Variety is reporting that Eric Bana will play the villain in the upcoming movie. Now THERE is a reason for me to see it.