By Dorothea Tanning
Never mind the pins
And needles I am on.
Let all the other instruments
Of torture have their way.
Froze my coffee
I caught the toaster
Eating my toast.
Did I press the right
Buttons on all these
Daring me to press them?
Did you gasp on seeing what
The mailman just brought?
Will the fellow I saw pedalling
Across the bridge live long
After losing his left leg,
His penis, and his bike
Will his sad wife find
Consolation with the
Computer wizard called in
Last year to deal with glitches?
Did you defuse the boys'
Bomb before your house
Was under water, same
As everything else?
My sister grabbed her
Silver hand mirror
Before floating away.
The dog yelped constantly,
Tipping our canoe.
I slept terribly and woke up feeling horrible -- this year's flu sucks just as much as everyone has told me, including both my kids, which probably made it inevitable that I would eventually come down with it. So I took it very easy during the snowy morning before we packed up after Hebrew school to go meet my in-laws in Baltimore at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, which is free this month for Maryland Zoo members. The site is considered the birthplace of the American railroad -- Charles Carroll said that laying the first stone of the railroad here at age 90 was the second most important act of his life after signing the Declaration of Independence -- and there are dozens of train cars in and out of the roundhouse and shops, plus acres of track. The museum permits photography inside, but not publication of photos on professional internet sites, so rather than risk running afoul of them, I will just post a few family shots:
We first visited this museum when older son was about three and obsessed with trains; the massive turntable was a big thrill for him.
A view across the roundhouse from inside one of the restored cars. The roundhouse had collapsed under the weight of snow in 2003, damaging several trains that will cost more than a million dollars to repair.
The work of restoration takes place in the historic Mt. Clare Shops...
...like this shattered car being rebuilt in the Baltimore & Ohio Passenger Car Works.
The Smithsonian has loaned a collection of model trains formerly on display at the National Museum of American History to the B&O Railroad Museum.
Here are the kids (well-bundled against the weather) in front of one of the trains out front.
And the familiar shape of the roundhouse, now repaired.
I will preface the inevitable Oscar blather by noting that this is the first year since Daniel was a newborn that I hadn't seen a single one of the major nominated films -- not because I didn't want to see a couple of them, but because the price of movies coupled with some big disappointments with movies that had come highly recommended has made me wait more and more for the DVDs and cable broadcasts. I'm not sure what was up with the wedding and bridesmaid dresses this year -- Sarah Jessica Parker and Penelope Cruz looked like dueling brides, Natalie Portman and Miley Cyrus looked like castoffs from wedding parties, and please tell me Reese Witherspoon was not trying to hide a pregnancy under that skirt. As for the awards themselves...
The show was worth price of admission for Frost/Nixon the gay musical, even if Jackman (or rather whoever put together his opening number) cast Anne Hathaway as one of the men. And while there were some neat aspects of having groups of previous winners present the actor and actress awards, this year of all year, when there were really no blockbusters everyone had seen and the crashing economy made showing clips to an audience that hadn't seen most of the films even more important? Please! I was ready to turn the damn thing off when Milk won best screenplay and Dustin Lance Black made me sniffly with his speech.
At least the animated film clips presentation was brilliant, and WALL-E won which was one of only two awards I actually cared who won! The other being best actress, because they owed Kate, so I am delighted she has that Oscar. Heath Ledger should have won an Oscar for Brokeback Mountain and I will always wonder if his life would have been different if he had, but the prize this year was anticlimactic for me because I disliked his role in The Dark Knight so much. I was rooting against Mickey Rourke more than I was rooting for anyone in the Best Actor category; I think it's great that talented bad boy Penn beat one-note bad boy Rourke, though I'd have cheered a great deal for Langella and I wouldn't have minded Pitt given how well his film did overall (I was very pleased the costume designer thanked Keira Knightley because no one would have looked at that movie had she not looked so awesome in the costumes).
I was glad Man on a Wire won the documentary, and though I haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire, I've heard so many raves that I was pleased when it picked up screenplay, then editing, sound, and music awards, and it appeared poised to take the top prize early on. Everyone involved in that film seems to be dedicated and unpretentious, so it was nice to see them all getting rewarded right through Best Picture.
Hugh: thank you for single-handedly bringing the musical back to this stage in respectable fashion, and for singing "You're the One that I Want" with Beyonce (and one line of Evita, too!). Penelope: you're gorgeous, thanks for thanking your nearest and dearest in Spanish, why did you have to date Tom Cruise? Robert Pattinson: do you always look stoned, or is it that you are always stoned? And thank you, producers, for using a clip of Ricardo Montalban as Khan in the dear departed tribute, and for Louise Fletcher signing her Best Actress acceptance speech. So all in all, thumbs up.