The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Saturday

The Solution
By Sharon Olds

         Finally they got the Singles problem under
control, they made it scientific. They opened huge
Sex Centers-you could simply go and state what you
want and they would find you someone who wanted that
too. You would stand under a sign saying I Like to
Be Touched and Held and when someone came and
stood under the sign saying I Like to Touch and
Hold they would send the two of you off
          At first it went great. A steady stream of
people under the sign I Like to Give Pain
paired up with a steady stream of people from under
I Like to Receive Pain. Foreplay Only-No
Orgasm found its adherents, and Orgasm Only-No
Foreplay matched up its believers. A loyal
Berkeley, California, policeman stood under the sign
Married Adults, Lights Out, Face to Face, Under a
Sheet, because that's the only way it was legal in
Berkeley-but he stood there a long time in his lonely
blue law coat. And the man under I Like to Be Sung
to While Bread Is Kneaded on My Stomach had been
there weeks without a reply.
         Things began to get strange. The Love
Only-No Sex was doing fine; the Sex Only-No
Love was doing well, pair after pair walking out
together like wooden animals off a child's ark, but
the line for 38D or Bigger was getting unruly,
shouting insults at the line for 8 Inches or
Longer, and odd isolated signs were springing up
everywhere, Retired Schoolteacher and Parakeet-No
Leather; One Rm/No Bath/View of Sausage Factory.
         The din rose in the vast room. The line
under I Want to Be Fucked Senseless was so long
that portable toilets had to be added and a minister
brought for deaths, births, and marriages on the
line. Over under I Want to Fuck Senseless-no
one, a pile of guns. A hollow roaring filled the
enormous gym. More and more people began to move over
to Want to Be Fucked Senseless. The line snaked
around the gym, the stadium, the whole town, out into
the fields. More and more people joined it, until
Fucked Senseless stretched across the nation in
a huge wide belt like the Milky Way, and since they
had to name it they named it, they called it the
American Way.


I rushed this morning to finish a review of Star Trek: The Next Generation's "The Survivors" (not deep, pretty scathing, the episode makes me very angry) because I promised, against my better judgment, to take my kids to see Superhero Movie. It made me ask several important questions, such as when did "douchebag" become an acceptable word to say in a PG-13 movie and is Brent Spiner really so desperate for money that he'd rather do a role like this than a couple of Star Trek conventions?

I will admit that I can't help grinning at Leslie Nielsen, Robert Hays and other Zucker movie alumni, and I howled at certain scenes -- the Human Torch getting gasoline thrown on him, the fight at the humanitarian convention with the Pope and Nelson Mandela throwing punches, the villain hiding at a comic book convention where everyone is in costume, the Dragonfly hiding on the ceiling after drinking his Super Big Gulp and peeing all over the floor behind the villain -- but the overall number of boob references, ridicule of aging and fart jokes kind of flattened any appreciation I might have had for the parody of superhero movies...I can't really accuse the movie of misogyny, however, as it only reflects the trivialization and victimization of women so common in the major film franchises.

The effects of General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson in the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.

Here are his uniform, hats, sword, rifle, canteen, dagger and other belongings, plus a lithograph.

This was the field notebook of Captain James Keith Boswell, an engineering officer on Jackson's staff. Jackson was wounded by the volley that killed Boswell, piercing the notebook and this map of the Rappahannock River.

Jackson's blood stains this handkerchief, which was saved by his aide-de-camp James Power Smith. Smith helped carry Jackson from the field after he was wounded.

The bullet in this photo made the hole in the canteen when it killed the canteen's owner, Captain William Alfred Wright. He died at Frayser's Farm during the Battle of Glendale six days after his promotion to captain of the "Essex Sharpshooters" while Jackson was under fire at White Oak Swamp.

A reproduction of General Robert E. Lee's headquarters tent -- every item in this display belonged to Lee, including the camp bed. When Jackson was dying after losing his arm, Lee told his chaplain: "Give General Jackson my affectionate regards, and say to him: he has lost his left arm, but I, my right."

Stonewall Brigade medals commissioned after Jackson's death in 1863 by Colonel Charles Lamar, struck in Paris and brought through the Federal blockade into the port of Wilmington, North Carolina.

We had dinner with my parents, with whom we are going to Philadelphia early Saturday morning. Then we came home and watched the highlights of the World Figure Skating Championships from Sweden on ESPN -- I follow skating so little these days that I couldn't have named last year's winners, but I saw enough to think that Yukari Nakano was robbed, coming in fourth after skating such a lovely program when the women's gold and silver medalists had major stumbles. I hate the new scoring system and the commentators never explain why it works the way it does, so the sport makes very little sense to me nowadays. And Wisconsin is out of the NCAA tournament, so now I really, truly don't care who wins.

thefridayfive: Food, Glorious Food
1. What type of food do you most like to eat?
Crabs, milk chocolate, nuts, anything in coconut milk, curry or rich cheese sauce.
2. What type of food do you most like to cook? Whatever can be microwaved in under two minutes.
3. What ingredient could you not live without? Vanilla if it's sweet, pepper if it's spicy.
4. What do you never let in your kitchen? Pepsi.
5. What is your favorite drink? Really good Ceylon, Assam or Earl Grey tea. Not too hot.

fridayfiver: Feedback Baby
1. What have you sold?
Girl Scout cookies, candles for junior high school music programs, magazines...not much, since I've never worked in retail.
2. What do you want to change? The global warming trend. And the infrequency with which my children clean their bathroom.
3. What does your answering machine / voice mail message say? "If you are calling for any solicitation, please take us off your list."
4. Where did you go to school? High school: DC suburbs. College: Philadelphia. Grad school: Chicago.
5. Friday fill-in: If you'd like to reach me, ______. If you'd like to reach me, e-mail or text me and don't use a profanity in the subject line or you may get filtered into my spam folder.

fannish5: What are your five favorite redemption storylines?
1. Damar in Deep Space Nine
. He went from being a selfish, despicable person to a passionate freedom fighter allied with someone he once considered an enemy.
2. Boromir in The Lord of the Rings. Everything that follows, up to the destruction of the Ring, is dependent upon the breaking of the Fellowship and his death fighting the orcs.
3. Snape in Harry Potter. It has an incredibly sucky ending but the story up to that point made it worth following; to me, he's by far the most interesting character in those books.
4. Callisto in Xena. I don't particularly like how Christian her salvation is, but it's very moving anyway.
5. Norrington in Pirates of the Caribbean. I figured after he went over to Becket that he was done for, and I liked that he died saving Elizabeth.

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