sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 26, 2005

leftovers, interseasonal flowers, and color amidst the gray clouds
posted by soe 4:20 pm

Three beautiful things from the last week:

1. We took Gramma home on Monday on our way back to D.C., and she offered us a bite to eat while we were waiting out the traffic at her house. It started out as leftover soup she’d frozen. Then she brought out leftover frozen chicken for sandwiches, dug out some leftover stuffing, and remembered some leftover gravy. By the time she was done finding everything, Rudi and I had had quite a lovely feast. Why do our leftovers never taste so good? It must be the grandmotherly magic…

2. Spring in Connecticut is several weeks behind D.C., so I wasn’t really surprised to see violets still growing on Gramma’s lawn. But I was surprised to see the lilies of the valley growing in her garden. We don’t even have them down here yet — unless they went so quickly I missed them altogether. It’s really cool when you get to see your two favorite flowers at once.

3. After hunting around for a while and making Rudi hang out in the coat section of far too many Marshalls and T.J. Maxx stores, I found one up in Connecticut. It’s a peachy yellow with pretty pink flowers on it and doesn’t make me look like I’m wearing a frumpy bathrobe. I feel so cheerful in the rain now (D.C. obliged me by giving me two day’s worth of rain upon my return).

Category: three beautiful things. There is/are Comments Off on leftovers, interseasonal flowers, and color amidst the gray clouds.

cool road trip!
posted by soe 1:01 pm

Independent America, a multi-media blog by wife-and-husband team Heather and Hanson, is two weeks into their two-month journey across America. They eschew interstates, box stores, and chain restaurants and hotels, instead seeking out the “Mom-n-Pop” experiences of America.

If you do check out their site, I recommend clicking on the calendar on the left and starting with them on May 8, just before they start on their journey.

Category: life -- uncategorized. There is/are Comments Off on cool road trip!.

posted by soe 9:57 am

Thanks to why.i.hate.dc, I have discovered the JFK and I reached the same conclusions about D.C.:

“Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm,” said Kennedy.

I didn’t put it with the same charm on March 17, but I wrote, “It combines the rudeness of New York with the sluggishness of Mississippi.”

(I admit I said this without ever having visited Mississippi. You may accuse me of stereotyping. But of course some of the New Yorkers I know are very nice, so my generalizations went both ways.)

Category: dc life. There is/are Comments Off on kennedyesque.

May 25, 2005

the case against discouragement
posted by soe 3:22 pm

Excerpts from historian Howard Zinn’s commencement address to the Class of 2005 at Spelman College:

“The lesson of that history is that you must not despair, that if you are right, and you persist, things will change. The government may try to deceive the people, and the newspapers and television may do the same, but the truth has a way of coming out. The truth has a power greater than a hundred lies.”

* * *

“My hope is that whatever you do to make a good life for yourself — whether you become a teacher, or social worker, or business person, or lawyer, or poet, or scientist — you will devote part of your life to making this a better world for your children, for all children. My hope is that your generation will demand an end to war, that your generation will do something that has not yet been done in history and wipe out the national boundaries that separate us from other human beings on this earth.”

* * *

“I learned something about democracy: that it does not come from the government, from on high, it comes from people getting together and struggling for justice. I learned about race. I learned something that any intelligent person realizes at a certain point — that race is a manufactured thing, an artificial thing, and while race does matter (as Cornell West has written), it only matters because certain people want it to matter, just as nationalism is something artificial. I learned that what really matters is that all of us — of whatever so-called race and so-called nationality — are human beings and should cherish one another.”

* * *

“My hope is that you will not be content just to be successful in the way that our society measures success; that you will not obey the rules, when the rules are unjust; that you will act out the courage that I know is in you.”

* * *

“You can help to break down barriers, of race certainly, but also of nationalism; that you do what you can — you don’t have to do something heroic, just something, to join with millions of others who will just do something, because all of those somethings, at certain points in history, come together, and make the world better.”

The complete text of Zinn’s speech, Against Discouragement, is available online.

Category: politics. There is/are Comments Off on the case against discouragement.

for d., with love
posted by soe 12:29 pm

Auden was wrong: love does last forever. It transcends everything else to carry on eternally and enduringly.

Funeral Blues
— W.H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Category: arts. There is/are Comments Off on for d., with love.

May 24, 2005

tv season — grade, c minus
posted by soe 11:47 pm

Well, the television season pretty much wraps up this week and I have to say that it couldn’t end soon enough for me.

I used to watch more tv than I do now. I’m not sure whether that’s because I have more of a life now than I did when I lived in Connecticut, I am pickier about what I watch now, or because this season’s crop didn’t live up to past viewing season.

The highlights of the season:

The only new show to get added to the roster was FOX’s House, a medical drama featuring an arrogant, crabby doctor of last resort who, with his crack crew of residents, comes up with miraculous diagnoses for rare diseases. It’s a lot like a cop show, except the illness is the criminal you’re searching out. The show is well written, the cast (including Hugh Laurie of Jeeves & Wooster fame, Omar Epps, and Robert Sean Leonard from Dead Poets Society; Sela Ward played a recurring role in the final two episodes of the season and seems likely to return next year) is excellent, and there’s usually a happy ending. I can’t ask for more in my dramas. Thanks to Gramma for the recommendation on this one.

The West Wing made a turn back from the dark side this season. When it started, it was excellent — so excellent that I was certain it would be cancelled because it was above the average viewer. But they surprised me and it’s hung around for quite a long time now. I do have to say that I’m ready for next season to be the final one. There have been some weak plot lines and some character changes I didn’t agree with. (For instance, what in the world happend to the idealistic Will? Who would have believed he’d sell out to the VP, especially if you saw the episodes he appeared in early on?) While generally I believe this season was better than last (especially with the addition of Jimmy Smits, Alan Alda, and Patricia Richardson to the cast) and while I enjoyed reliving some of the better moments of life in a campaign, I’m ready for the Bartletts to head back to New Hampshire, for Zoey and Charlie to feature in a storyline that doesn’t end in disaster, and for Donna and Josh to finally end up together. Apparently network execs agree, because they’ve moved the show to 8 p.m. on Sunday next fall — a switch likely to lose them viewers. May they be like Friends and go out on a truly high note.

Joan of Arcadia has lost its bid to stay on tv, just as the show was gearing up for Joan to have to face the Devil next season. I liked Joan and her family and I particularly liked how Joan was a reluctant vehicle for god’s good works. Most people who know me find it hard to believe that I follow a faith-based show on a regular basis. But I liked the fact that the writers generally believed that god with a lower case “g” could be a universal theme — embodied in any number of bodies — as opposed to God with an upper case “G,” which could have divided people along religious lines. Ultimately Joan wasn’t a religious show, so much as one in which the characters struggle to live moral lives — sometimes without fully understanding the choices they’re presented with.

Everwood limped into the season on the back of a poor plot decision by the writers and never made a great recovery. I like many of the characters in the show, but I just don’t see it making the weekly cut next season. I think with Rose’s illness at the end of this season, it completely jumped the shark. Too bad.

Finally, I will admit to watching one reality tv show: Extreme Makeover Home Edition: How’d They Do That? I’m not quite sure how we got sucked into that one, but I like the fact that they help needy families get a leg up. I once had a conversation with a homeless man who was working at a farmer’s market and at a nightclub in San Francisco. He said, “I don’t want a hand out; I just want a hand up.” And I think that’s generally what this show strives for: a way to give a hand up to people who are too busy helping others to help themselves or to those who’ve been knocked flat on their backs. Yes, they only help a few families. And, yes, they provide a ridiculously opulent lifestyle for those families they do choose. But they do seem to go in with good intentions every week. And it’s nice to see there’s good in the world, even if it is done for ratings. Survivor goes for ratings, too, and I challenge anyone to find the good in people in that show.

Hopefully next season will bring me some good comedies. This season, sadly, the best I’ve found is Stacked, which isn’t saying much. It’s not nearly as bad as I suspected it would be, but that’s not saying it’s good. I’d like something good please, network execs. Please see what you can do, okay?

Category: life -- uncategorized. There is/are Comments Off on tv season — grade, c minus.