The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday

Baseball Haiku

August heat
umpire and manager
nose to nose

      -- Michael Fessler

after the error
the player still faces the outfield
towering clouds

      -- Imai Sei

lost in the lights
the high fly ball that
never comes down

      -- Raffael de Gruttola


Three more haiku from Poet's Choice in Sunday's Washington Post Book World. "Michael Fessler, who's published two books on the game along with five of haiku, best captures the game's players. His last line really drags me into the intimacy of those screaming matches," writes Mary Karr. "The Japanese poets managed to make the haiku a spiritual instant -- delicate as tissue paper. Imai Sei even creates psychological complexity...such feeling in such a small space. These haiku prove that in a secular culture, the stadium -- from little league through the majors -- may be the closest many Americans get to a house of worship, which is why I end with Raffael de Gruttola's meditation on eternity." The poems appear in Baseball Haiku, published last year by Norton.

After a morning of laundry and silly chores like reorganizing the linen closet to make room for the new beach towels, we had lunch and went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I enjoyed it in a vague nostalgic way, but in what seems to be an uncommon opinion on my friends list here where people seem mostly to have loved it, I was pretty unimpressed. Mostly because I felt like I'd seen the movie before, even though I hadn't read any spoilers. I'd have forgiven the stuff borrowed or recycled from Raiders, Last Crusade, and particularly Temple of Doom -- which I'm afraid this reminded me of the most, despite the presence of Karen Allen instead of Kate Capshaw -- but there were references to so many other franchises and films that it felt rather more like pastiche than an original creation.

Okay, so X-Files borrowed from Close Encounters and that was Spielberg, so we'll write off similarities, and National Treasure borrowed from Raiders, so we'll write off those too, even though it's pretty sad that Lucas would have to borrow from Bruckheimer, who has spent his career trying to make Johnny Depp or Nic Cage as convincing as Harrison Ford in the role of the beloved scoundrel. And The Road to El Dorado borrowed from Temple of Doom, so we'll write off the plot even though both the cartoon and National Treasure 2's preposterous cities of gold suddenly seem a lot more plausible than extraterrestrials. My husband had me howling inappropriately when he leaned over and said, "George! I said no aliens! That's 13 aliens! Can't you count?" We're veering less into E.T. territory here than Howard the Duck.

I could have overlooked any number of minor absurdities -- surviving a nuclear blast before the mushroom cloud had diffused, a swordfight while driving through the forest of Endor the Amazon, Roswell aliens with cousins from centuries earlier in South America -- but I was particularly irked by two things. One was the implication that a girl never quite has a life until Doctor Jones comes back into it no matter what she claims (and I really was happy to see Marion again; I just wanted more of a clue that this was her quest, not an obligation to the older male friend she followed into the jungle). The bigger one is that it seems McCarthy was right, there were Communist agents helping the Soviets infiltrate the United States, and maybe the FBI did need to be interrogating people to find them before the Soviets could use their evil mind control techniques learned from studying mystical indigenous cultures.

It's atrociously schlocky historically as well as scientifically, even as Henry Jones Jr. (he's not Indiana anymore) is lecturing on the importance of education. I don't mean that I have a problem with the Ark of the Covenant creating jets of fire flying out someone's head (an effect repurposed here) or the Holy Grail making someone crumble and explode (ditto). I mean the use of native cultures is awfully close to Peter Jackson's King Kong. As far as I'm concerned, Crystal Skull is a more entertaining film than that or than Temple of Doom because it has more humor, less gore and no violence against children, but I don't like its post-colonial or Cold War politics, nor its nuclear family fantasy that's largely requires erasing a woman's life story to make work. And the saddest thing is that I'd probably be here rationalizing all that away if I had simply found it a more fun movie.

The water was so calm and reflective when we got to Brookside Gardens that it almost looked like these turtles were floating in the sky.

There were dozens of turtles in and around the water -- red-eared sliders, Eastern painted turtles, snapping turtles and possibly other kinds I didn't recognize.

I'm not sure whether these are a male and a female or two different species.

The snapping turtles fortunately kept to the water.

The sliders and painted turtles congregated in big groups on the banks and in the grass.

In the marsh, a tiny baby turtle (left) and a nearly submerged older turtle (center right).

Once they're adults I guess the turtles have very few predators within the park. See the piles in the sun beneath the azaleas?

And it's a pretty scenic place to live!

After the movie, we walked around lake at the shopping center (just two baby geese -- the one I saw a couple of weeks ago, which is growing feathers now, and one more little fluffy gosling), then stopped in Kohl's to buy clothes for our upcoming trip. We discovered Saturday while getting dressed for the pool that older son had outgrown all his bathing suits, and I decided I should get a couple of non-ratty bras in case anyone sees my laundry. Then we came home, sat on the kids to make sure they got their homework done, had dinner and watched a Futurama episode and some basketball. I read the alleged Doctor Who spoilers from the Daily Mirror and was not excited, particularly after the BBC's mid-season trailer -- I like Alex Kingston, at least they picked an actress older than I am, but I really don't want to see the Doctor have a passing romance in the least, and frankly I'd be happy at this point if he never dated anyone, Companion or otherwise. I'm hoping that, since she's from Jack's era, she'll leave him for a woman...or reveal that she knew him as a woman.

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