Saturday, April 26, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
You Are Invited!
♣--- ♦--- ♥--- ♠
The Mallorys, Bacons, O’Flahertys, etc.
June 20, from 10:30 a.m. to ?????
A favorite dish, plus $25.00 per couple, $7.50 per child, to help defray the cost of renting The Northwest Quadrant of the Winnehaha Pavilion.
Sally Millhouse, (712) 555-1234
We’ll be sitting for family portraits!
Follow Samantha as she prepares for the family reunion. As she hunts for artifacts for the family display, she finds this old letter:
Oct. 29, 1959 (I am sorry this is late)
Thank you for the $10 for my birthday. I will buy a pretty red pink blue dress you will like (I hope). I am skinney now, dr. Noonan put me on a strick diet (ugh!). Lettuce, cellery and cottage cheese.
Mrs. Niles died last month, Nana says she wieghed over 500 lbs, I would DIE if I weighed over 500 lbs. I am in the St. Bonyfi Boniface chior now, we sang at Mrs. Niles funneral.
PS: Nana says Mrs. Niles was buried in a piano crate!
(Samantha Anne Mallory, age 9)
This is a must-attend event!
A command performance!
Go to Quillery.com
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
For a six-year-old, I was fairly street savvy, my moral compass obviously skewed.
Once a 12-year-old boy threatened to "do" things to me, and I simply went home and plucked a butcher knife from the kitchen drawer and hunted him down. When I found him, I pointed the knife at him, and said, "If you don't leave me alone, I'm going to stick this knife in your gut and twist it." I never had a problem with him again.
I was fearless, yet wary of strangers. Once, a man tried luring me into following him; he rolled two sugar cubes to me, but only after he had saturated them with something from an eye-dropper. I swear he wore a fedora and raincoat--what a cliche.
I realized something was wrong; I took off like a rabbit and didn't look back. I often wonder if I would be here today if I had followed that stranger.
Fortunately, my grandparents rescued me from my mother and worked very hard at instilling good Catholic values into me. The Catholic part sort of fell by the wayside, but I no longer steal from little shops and relatives, and I haven't threatened to gut anyone lately. Back in Sioux City, Iowa, I reverted back to the child I should have been all along.
This story showed up in my email box, under Reuters' Oddly Enough reports; I'm not all that sure that this situation qualifies as an "oddity." It seems all too common these days, with cults marrying off their minor daughters to old men and young children of both sexes being sexually molested. I can only imagine this eight-year-old girl has endured in a "marriage" to a man who not only sexually assaulted her but also beat her up. At six, I had no idea about sex, but my street radar had warned me that all was not right. But I had a choice: I could escape. The eight year old had to petition the Yemeni court for her freedom, and her parents had to "pay" the poor "husband" $250.00 compensation. What an insult; that prick should have been thrown into jail, not paid off.
I have never understood the appeal of an 8-year-old girl or boy in terms of sexual pleasure. In fact, I find the very idea repulsive; I'm sure most rational people feel the same way.
While this particular story may seem especially egregious, young girls and boys have been exploited from the beginning of the human race.
On one website I frequent, there is a prominently-placed public service ad: "Stop Human Trafficking"--an admirable goal for sure--but the field itself (domaining) is filled with boy wonders who think nothing of hiring Playboy bunnies and scantily dressed young women for conference entertainment. I believe that "Stopping Human Trafficking" begins at home, not in some foreign country, that the exploitation of young women, barely out of puberty, is part of the problem.
However, we live in a culture where the young are placed on some kind of strange pedestal, particularly young girls being sexualized at a young age: make up, revealing clothes, dating at 10 and even younger. These kids have no idea that they may be setting themselves up for a pedophile's trap, so it's up to parents to keep an eye on their kids and out of harm's way.
In today's climate, we are told to "be accepting" of other cultures and their ethnic traditions, but one that exploits minor children in a sexual way doesn't deserve any respect--that includes marrying off 12-14 year olds to creepy old men who already have multiple wives.
Anyway, the Reuters' story gave me a chill.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Right now, I'm busy getting Poets.net off the ground, so I'm neglecting my other blogs, including this one. I doubt very much if I'll abandon this blog; I just feel too connected to it and the name, which was the brainchild of Christopher Woodman, who, yes, posts as ACommoner on poets.org.
During the summer of 2008, I'm going to develop (with professional help) Poets.net into a forum format with the current Poets.net blog as a subdomain. I haven't figured out what forum template I plan to use. It needs to be fairly uncomplicated to manage.
I see Post Foetry emerging as a personal blog, which, in many ways, it already is. This blog never did find a definitive voice, which seemed to reflect my mood at any given time. Lousy mood, cranky post. Euphoric mood, soaring post.
Poets.net exudes an angry voice, at least for now. I bought the domain in a moment of red-hot anger, but I have no regrets. Money comes and goes--integrity, I hope, hangs around.
My eventual goal for Poets.net: to develop a place for the silenced poet and writer. The outsider. The naive. The non-connected/non-MFA'er. Even the less accomplished poet who still believes that poetry [dot] com is a valid credit. Criticize the company that deceives these aspiring poets, never the poet.
A place for poets and writers at all stages of their careers.
If someone wants to bitch about the literary establishment and his/her suspicions about the state of the po-biz, then so be it. Bitch away--it's your right, one that I'll freely grant.
Silencing comes in many guises, outright censoring being the most egregious.
But there are other kinds of silencing, for example, the kind that comes wrapped up in "policy." You see, how one interprets policy is strictly in the eye of the beholder. In the past two weeks, I have seen poets and writers being scolded and "pruned" for the silliest interpretations of "libel" (some people don't understand that libel does not exist when Truth is involved, as is the case with Tupelo, Jorie Graham, and Iowa) and the following:
"Avoid language or statements that can be considered pornographic, racist, threatening, inflammatory, hateful, insulting, or violent." (poets.org sticky)
To be honest, I saw nothing in the "pruned" posts that fell under those categories. Some might say that "foetry" was insulting others, but I see egregious insults as out and out name calling, such as, "Your mother is a boot-wearing prostitute who turns tricks at Yankee Stadium" or the "Fatty, fatty, two-by-four, couldn't fit through the bathroom door" ditty that was hailed at me when I was a kid.
I didn't see any of that on poets.org--just a lively, sometimes heated debate about censorship. I wasn't even insulted when my spelling was corrected in a somewhat snarky manner. So what. Big deal. Your mother wears army boots, so there.
"While we value freedom of expression, we also value the comfort and sanctity of this space for everyone. We expect that certain topics may lead to contention and debate, and will not prevent users from expressing their opinions, as long as they can be articulated and debated in a rational, calm, and informed manner." (poets.org sticky)
What I saw in those excised threads was a lively discussion among writers with differing viewpoints. It was also the most active thread in an otherwise quiet forum. ACommoner wanted to discuss his banishment from the P&W Speakeasy forum, which, in my opinion, is a valid topic to bring to a forum that serves writers. I don't see how naming names when stating facts constitutes libel or offends anyone. It seems to me that sweeping inequities under the rug is much more offensive than laying them out there for everyone to critique.
What I saw was a bunch of admins and mods exerting their power over the powerless, you know, the petty pencil-pushing bureaucrat who loves to make a citizen's life miserable because she can. And does. And will.
But what do I know?
I suppose I know enough to start a counterculture forum, one that emphasizes freedom of expression over politeness and personal opinion.
I really didn't *need* a fancy domain name; I suppose I could have morphed Post Foetry into a forum, but being the flawed person that I am, I was seduced by the possibility of having a short and memorable domain name.
One truism I have discovered in the blogosphere: it's difficult building traffic unless one is willing to use "black hat" methods, which I'm not willing to do, such as *buying* links and traffic, employing pop-up ads, and spamming all over the place.
I'll do it the old fashioned way: build a place people want to visit and stay so that, in turn, Google will begin to see this is a space worth ranking, so more people will drop by--maybe even go viral.
And, yes, I have incorporated Google ads; there is nothing wrong with off-setting costs with a little revenue.
I love capitalism; it's The American Way.