The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Saturday

The Plums
By Mirabai
Translated by Andrew Schelling

The plums tasted sweet
to the unlettered desert-tribe girl -
but what manners! To chew into each!

She was ungainly, low-caste, ill mannered and dirty,
but the god took the fruit she'd been sucking.

Why? She knew how to love.
She might not distinguish
splendor from filth
but she'd tasted the nectar of passion.

Might not know any Veda,
but a chariot swept her away -
now she frolics in heaven, ecstatically bound
to her god.

The Lord of Fallen Fools, says Mira,
will save anyone who can practice rapture like that.
I myself in a previous birth
was a cowherding girl
at Gokul.


My kids had no school on Friday and we had planned to go to some of our favorite places to see the changing leaves -- Gathland and Gambrill State Parks -- with Paul's parents. But it rained from dawn till dusk, so we decided that this really was not the day for it. Instead we went to the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, where we looked at the Hubble deep field photos and watched a Science on a Sphere presentation about how we study the changing Earth. Then we went to the National Cryptologic Museum at Ft. Meade, which was fascinating and larger than we expected -- in addition to exhibits on the NSA and national security code-breaking, there were exhibits on codes and language in general, including the Rosetta Stone, hobo signs, slave quilts, and historical encoding contraptions that Dan Brown would love.

A rocket and autumn tree behind Goddard Space Flight Center's visitor center.

Me attracting plasma to my head on a dare by Adam, who took the photo.

The weather center and overcast sky beyond.

Adam tries his hand breaking World War II codes at the National Cryptologic Museum.

From the NSA Rare Book Collection, Jacopo Silvestri's Opus Novum, published in 1526 -- the second-oldest book on cryptology in the world.

A Choctaw Nation Medal of Valor given to a World War I Native American Codetalker.

Viet Cong annotations of allied troop movements hidden in children's school notebooks.

A plugboard, or stecker in German, allowed an operator to change the value of any character manually, used with the German ENIGMA cipher. (You can see Adam's reflection in the mirror set up to make the back visible.)

fannish5: If you could erase five characters from any fandom, who would you choose? If it's one fandom, I suppose it had better be Star Trek.
1. Seven of Nine, Voyager. I would love to know what that series would have become if it had not become about her breasts.
2. Losira, Star Trek. Because "That Which Survives" should be erased from memory.
3. Reg Barclay, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Yes I know we're supposed to identify with his adorable pathetic loser-ness, but I only ever felt condescended to by his existence.
4. Ambassador Soval, Enterprise. Really, I despise what was done to all the Vulcans on Enterprise, but I'm picking Soval as representative because I like T'Pol in spite of everything and as a senior Vulcan, he should have some modicum of logic.
5. Keiko O'Brien, Deep Space Nine. I hate hating on women, especially someone who's a wife and mother as well as a professional, but if there was ever a female character on television written as whiny, shrewish, and selfish as Keiko, I can't think of whom.

Speaking of Star Trek, here is my review of Next Gen's "Cause and Effect", about which I don't have a great deal to say except that it's very enjoyable. I forgot to mention that I spent a lot of Thursday riveted to the TV watching Balloon Boy, like a lot of the rest of the world, and now that it looks like the parents designed the entire stunt (at taxpayer expense) and instructed their six-year-old to lie to police and newscasters, thus freaking him out and making him sick, I want the biggest possible fine slapped on him and child services checking up on those kids' "home schooling" at every possible opportunity (I'm not sure it serves anyone's interest to put the parents in prison, though if this really does turn out to be fraud, there should absolutely be charges).

Daniel's high school, Montgomery Blair, is celebrating its anniversary tonight and had a big gala at Strathmore Hall emceed by Ben Stein, who is an alumnus. He only just got home, a bit after midnight, because the choir was singing at the reception. It sounds like he had a good time, but we old people are pretty tired from waiting up for him to call!

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