Angel Supporting St. Sebastian
By Robin Becker
Shot with arrows and left for dead,
against the angel's leg, Sebastian sinks.
In time, he'll become the patron
saint of athletes and bookbinders.
But for now, who wouldn't want to be
delivered into the sculpted arms
of this seraph, his heavenly
shoulders and biceps?
The artist understood the swoon
of doctrine, its fundamental
musculature, and the human need
to lean against the lusty form,
accept the discourse that assigns
to each of us a winged guardian
whispering into our ringing ears.
I had a pretty quiet birthday, as I had to get a bit of shopping and more than a bit of laundry done to send Adam off for three days of outdoor ed the next morning...what we called science camp when I was growing up. Had lunch with vertigo66 and gblvr (Corner Bakery), had dinner with my parents (shrimp au gratin and Nubian chocolate roll), celebrated the last night of Chanukah both at my parents' house and at ours (I got the gorgeous catalogue of the J.M.W. Turner exhibit published by the Tate Museum, Chesapeake: Exploring the Water Trail of Captain John Smith, the second season of Mission: Impossible on DVD, and some money from my parents, plus HP:OOTP for the family and packs of the POTC constructible ship cards that can be played with the various WizKids Pirates games). Am seeing on the news that there's a tropical storm in the Caribbean and horrific footage of the mudslide out west and the ice storm closer to here...hope everyone is safe!
My cats waiting eagerly to wish me happy birthday. Oh, fine, my cats waiting eagerly for me to walk in the kitchen and feed them.
Came home, got Adam packed and tucked in, made Daniel finish homework, did a bit of cleanup and watched Boston Legal. Sometimes I really wish David E. Kelley weren't so coy about his political beliefs, you know? *snerk* The points for skewering this week are the National Guard's failure to accept willing members who don't fit their demographics and the No Child Left Behind act...definitely one of my favorites of the season even apart from Alan earnestly telling a National Guard recruitment officer that he and Denny get plenty of exercise, fiber and sex.
My kids, who were still awake, were delighted when the episode started with Denny and Alan playing tennis on the Wii, but they're quickly interrupted by a man Denny has sued because he wanted a pizza from the man's restaurant which turned out to be closed. The man points out that the restaurant closed because of a flood and Alan comes up with the idea of suing the National Guard for failing to offer assistance. Shirley doesn't believe this is a legitimate case, but she also can't stick around to argue, as her granddaughter Marlena who has just been expelled from school for shredding standardized tests comes begging for her assistance.
Shirley talks to the principal, who says the girl was a model student until a year abroad convinced her that the US educational system was terrible. Unable to convince him to drop the suspension, Shirley insists to the judge that destroying the test was an act of civil disobedience that shows a knowledge of US history like the Boston Tea Party. She calls upon experts who testify that the No Child Left Behind act grants exemptions to make certain states look good and that half of US students can't locate the state of New York on a map.
The principal, a math teacher, admits that he sends his own children to private school and says that the No Child Left Behind tests are necessary to receive federal funding, which is costing him teachers and wasting millions of dollars. ("This No Child Left Behind act, we've got to get rid of it, it's leaving our kids behind.") Shirley concedes that shredding the test may be taking civil disobedience too far, but so is expelling a student for it, and the judge agrees, saying it should be only a suspension. Marlena asks Shirley for a part time job.
Alan and Denny get the patriotic judge who threatens to throw them in jail for contempt if they can't prove the case against the National Guard isn't a despicable waste of time. Alan shows footage of the state of emergency during the flood and argues that the National Guard and its equipment are in Iraq -- we don't even bring it back -- but when he describes all the services we're not getting in the US as a result of the war, from education to care for the elderly, the judge has them locked up in the name of court and country.
In prison, Alan suggests to Denny that they join the National Guard and invites the judge to join them when he comes to have them released. But the National Guard recruitment officer announces that they are both too old and suggests that they volunteer with the USO, and when Alan returns to the judge, insisting that older Americans, gay Americans, etc. should be allowed to volunteer to serve and to take domestic positions, the judge says that would end our backdoor draft so even though it's outrageous that age, sexual orientation, etc. can keep Americans from serving, he must dismiss the case, as he can't set military policy. (He suggests joining the Boy Scouts, but Alan points out that they want you to be young and straight, too. "Our country doesn't want us," he laments.
Back at the firm there are problems as well. Katie asks Lorraine enough questions to conclude that she's lying about her ex-husband's alleged fatwa. Fearful of discovery, Lorraine visits Alan in prison and confesses that she used to run a brothel in Piccadily; because her clients included members of the royal family and Parliament, the government agreed not to prosecute her if she would leave the country. (Overhearing, Denny claims to have an image made on a Xerox machine while he was getting it on with the Queen on the photocopier.)
Meanwhile, Carl complains to Shirley that he is thinking about going back to New York because he can't restore order to Crane, Poole and Schmidt and doesn't beliefe she really wants him to. While Shirley is attempting to convince him that the firm is just a bit eccentric, Lorraine comes in and, after telling Shirley of Alan and Denny's new plan to join the Coast Guard, explains her predicament. Carl tells Shirley, "I'm sorry, you're right, it's just like any other firm." Ultimately he admits that he's really upset because he's starting to like it there, and that scares him; moreover, he's deeply in love with Shirley, who has a history of going through men like tic-tacs, and that scares him too. Shirley asks him to just go with it, and Marlena walks in on them kissing, which she labels gross.
Alan and Denny sit on the balcony in coast guard uniforms, which Denny finds arousing though Alan points out that they're rented uniforms and don't actually make Denny's penis look bigger. Alan notes his surprise that with all the chaos in the country, volunteerism is actually up, and Denny says that was Bush's plan: to let people learn to fend for themselves. "Act like an idiot, people stand up and volunteer," he observes, telling Alan to look at the big picture: we need a way to nuke Iran and Iraq without starting a world war! Only someone perceived to be as stupid as Bush could get away with claiming that it was an accident! Alan says Denny is all talk about wanting guns and bombs and Denny agrees -- he may be a nice guy with a big heart, but women love men in uniform. As for Lorraine's lie about the fajita or fatwa or whatever, Denny says he will stand up for her if she lies down for him. And he wants a tank. The two drink as "Over There" plays into the credits.