A Spring Day
By Masaoka Shiki
Translated by Janine Beichman
On how to sing
the frog school and the skylark school
A spring day
A long line of footprints
On the sandy beach.
Double cherry blossoms
Flutter in the wind
One petal after another.
At the full moon's
rising, the silver-plumed
the scattering cherry blossoms --
the wings of birds!
The major event of my day was my annual visit to the OB-GYN to discuss such thrilling matters as familial cancer history, whether I would be a good candidate for DNA screening, whether the benefits of progesterone-based IUDs outweigh the disadvantages, the fact that emergency contraception is most effective if taken within 12-14 hours rather than the 24-48 advertised, how it would be nice to be John McCain's 96-year-old mother in terms of her health, spirit and intellect (though not, you know, to be John McCain's mother) and the fact that she and I both have sons who become very upset if they see a cat catch a small rodent. I like my OB-GYN very much and would probably think about inviting her to lunch if I knew her in some other context, but the rest of the yearly exam pretty much kills any urge to see her socially!
Then I went to the mall to meet my mother for lunch, stopping in Sears because I got there early and discovering that they have belted cotton skorts on sale for $13! And denim shorts for $9 -- both of these are half price, along with pretty much everything in the store through this weekend, and since those and a new bathing suit were pretty much my only remaining shopping requirements before we go out of town next month, this was a very successful shopping trip. (Can you tell how much I do not enjoy clothes shopping?) Also, Sears has penguin hooded towels, so younger son, who used a Bug's Life towel since -- well, pretty much since A Bug's Life was in theaters -- now has not one but two new towels for the summer. And because I know I am not the only person around who looks for penguin items, Claire's has penguin nesting dolls for $8. *whistles* Mom and I had yogurt and granola and ran into the father of my oldest friend, whom I missed at this year's Superbowl party.
Here are some little knitted alpacas for sale in the barn.
This woman is winding sheep yarn onto a spindle.
Another woman was dyeing yarn...
..and demonstrating carding and hand spinning.
These girls were demonstrating finger weaving. I walked through most of the animal pens knotting yarn over my fingers. *g*
The Moffett Blacksmith Shop, built in 1917 and moved to Frying Pan Farm Park from nearby Herndon, has a working forge where this volunteer was straightening nails found in a Baltimore shipwreck.
Son made us watch Deal or No Deal filmed in South Africa...if you're the host in another country, do you have to shave your head like Howie? I liked the dancing and the drummers, otherwise disliked the show as usual. Then we watched Boston Legal, in which William Shatner gets his opportunity to run for President of the United States -- he's Canadian and Kirk would have to run for President of the Federation, a thankless job if ever there was one, though at least Spock could be his running mate!
After a flashback with Denny saying that if he was president, he'd nuke Iraq and Iran before breakfast, Denny's old adversary Paul Cruickshank visits and asks to speak to Denny alone, though Alan insists that they're married. Paul has come representing the RNC; they think McCain is as boring as Denny does, and want Denny to run for president. Alan calls this ridiculous, but Denny points out that not only did Ronald Reagan have mad cow but people like Jesse Ventura run for president all the time. In a Q&A with Republican leaders, Denny says that despite the recent Supreme Court case, he is for the death penalty, calls abortion murder and is a staunch supporter of the Republicans' most important contributors...not the Religious Right, whom he finds hypocritical and sanctimonious, but the NRA, and he has the guns to prove it.
Meanwhile, Dana has been arrested by an undercover agent and wants Jerry and Katie to represent her. Katie says they have a conflict of interest since Katie worked for Lorraine and the D.A. will want Dana to name her employer, but Dana says she won't give up Lorraine's name. Indeed, D.A. Mary (Gina Torres!) says she'll release Dana in exchange for a name, but Katie deftly says she needs to see the evidence against her client first, then shows it to Lorraine, who thinks it's ambiguous. Unwilling to take a deal that would admit wrongdoing and implicate Lorraine, Dana asks Jerry to challenge the state's law against prostitution.
Meanwhile, deadpan Renee visits Shirley, announcing that she was denied employment on the basis of gender and wanting to sue the Archdiocese of Boston for refusing to consider her as a priest. Shirley persuades Carl to join the case and gets the Not Gay judge, who calls it a sacrilegious act of heresy until Shirley cites the Bob Jones University lawsuit in which the school lost tax-exempt status for its ban on interracial dating. The Archdiocese argues that in the Church, men and women complement each other but have different roles, which Carl calls sexist. When the priest on the stand says that the Church doesn't modify its positions based on opinion polls, Carl says sure they do, and cites reversals on such issues as slavery to prove his point, saying that he has no bias because he's a Jew and they made one of his own almighty. He believes Orthodox Judaism, Islam and most branches of Christianity are just as sexist as Catholicism, and none of them should be entitled to government-sanctioned bigotry.
Alan is concerned about Denny meeting potential donors and having a physical, saying that their balcony days could be over and America does not need Denny with his finger on the nuclear button. When Denny bumps into Dana, he holds out his credit cards, then hits on Lorraine, then goes to his office to study pictures of Hillary Clinton, saying, "She has mad cow." Alan guesses that it could be post-traumatic stress disorder from dodging bullets. Yet they agree that Barack is just too pretty -- Denny thinks he used to be Whitney Houston -- and Denny confesses that while he knows he can kick Obama's or McCain's ass, he's not sure about Hillary.
In court, Jerry calls the Massachusetts law against prostitution arbitrary, saying that legalizing it would lower the number of rapes and diminish organized crime whereas keeping it criminal doesn't make it go away, just makes it more dangerous. The D.A. says that even if he's correct, it's an issue for the legislature rather than the courts, and the profession victimizes women even in places where it's legal. Jerry asks why they're wasting money going after prostitutes when they could use it to support the troops, then gloats, "I said it, 'Support our troops!' I win!" But of course he doesn't, and after one more attempt to get back together with Jerry, Dana vanishes, thus protecting Lorraine's identity and the myth of clean, attractive, pleasant prostitution rings being run by slinky, sexy British lawyers who just want a tad of excitement in their lives.
In Shirley and Carl's case, the defense argues that people in America can be free to practice the religion of their choice and Renee can choose a faith other than Catholicism, but Carl counters that America tolerates bigotry as long as it's cloaked in religion -- not just against women who have to cover their faces or sit separate from men, but gay-bashing and ignoring ethnic genocide elsewhere in the world. "Religion is a mean legacy," he observes, quoting Pat Robertson on his fellow Christians being Antichrists, Jerry Falwell on 9/11 being a punishment against homosexuals and the like. Carl says that he is a spiritual man -- "I go to temple, I pray, I believe in God" -- but he believes religion must stop allowing discrimination while seeking safe haven in the Constitution. The judge admits he had a dream in which he met God and She was furious that his honor didn't do a thing for women's rights, so he agrees that the government should not back Church bigotry with tax breaks, and finds for Renee, Shirley and Carl.
In the middle of his physical, Denny is brought on stage to shouts of "Surprise!" and lifelong friends laughing as the band plays "Hail to the Chief." Paul admits that the idea of Denny as president has all been a big joke, but as Denny stands there spluttering sadly, the FBI bursts in, ordering everyone down on their knees with their hands on their heads. They accuse Denny of fraudulently posing as a candidate, forcing Paul to admit that it was a rather mean practical joke. Then the FBI agent says, "You have all been had by Mr. Denny Crane." He knew an hour into the proposal that it was a joke, but let it run its course so he could one-up them all. And he still wants money from a large bet Paul lost to him months earlier. Alan tries to assure Denny that people are just jealous of Denny's success but Denny, who can't believe some of his oldest friends were in on it, says he has to remind himself of what's really important here: "They didn't get me. I got them."
On the balcony Denny tells Alan that he still thinks he'd make a fine president -- he'd stop outsourcing to the Chinese, drop a few bags of grain on Africa if he can figure out where the starving people are, add France to Axis of Evil...invite Hillary into Oval Office for a little taste of honey. Alan says that last is vulgar, so Denny asks what Alan wants in a president, and Alan says he would like to return dignity to the office. American culture is dumb, fat, schlocky, superficial...we have TV shows about whether we're smarter than a second grader and a president who isn't. But Alan wouldn't vote for Denny for purely selfish reasons, to keep him on the balcony. He thinks it's time for Denny's generation, which built the current America, to hand over the keys to the next generation. (Note: David E. Kelley is pretty obviously voting for Obama.) Denny is willing to consider this as long as he can also consider a threesome with Hillary and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. "Denny Crane, king for a day," he says. "Wow." And Alan, toasting their friendship, says "wow" too.
As for the current administration, it's too little too late, but at least the Department of the Interior has finally declared the polar bear a threatened species. Wow, you noticed? But still, this is better than nothing!