Saturday, May 23, 2009

Go Read Mickey Z

I'm in the mountains, hugging trees.

Picture here.

The Tender Mercies Of The Catholic Church

Witnesses described the distress they experienced observing their younger siblings being physically punished for bed-wetting. Many described protecting them from beatings by any means, including pretending that they had wet the beds themselves and taking the punishment instead of their siblings. They also described hiding wet sheets and trying to dry sheets in advance of an inspection. In some instances witnesses reported swapping their sibling’s wet sheet with that of another resident who was then punished instead. The girls who wet the bed got beaten. I never wet the bed but my sister did and my
older sister and I used to get up early and make sure her bed was dry so that she didn’t get hit, the babies who wet the bed got beaten. We would change her bed. I know it’s a horrible thing but we would change the bed with someone else, so that she did not get hit and if we didn’t get time we’d change her with our own bed and we’d take the beating. We just didn’t want her to get hit, she was only a baby. The punishment was, beaten with a leather strap all over. The nun used to get a big girl to go around and check what one was wet, what one was dry. You couldn’t save everyone you know.

~From the Irish Commission To Inquire Into Child Abuse

Picture found here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Poetry For A Late Spring Day

"In the Bulrushes"
By Katha Pollitt

Lotus. Papyrus. Turquoise. Lapis. Gold.
A jackal-headed god
nods in the noon
that shimmers over the river
as if fanned by invisible slave girls.
Frogs fall silent , stunned
by the sun or eternity.
The Pyramids have been crumbling for centuries.
Snug in his bassinet of reeds
the lucky baby plays with his toes,
naked. What does he care
for his mother's eyes in a thorn tree?
Around his head an alphabet of flames
spells Thunder . Transformation.
Woe to women.
The sun begins its red plunge down the sky.
Deep in the earth a locust's eyes snap open.
Frogs resume their trill
And punctual to the minute
down the path,
tottering on jewelled sandals, comes
the beautiful lonely princess
who's wandered in from another kind of story.

Picture found here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ireland Used Faith Based Funding

In addition to reports of what appeared to be indiscriminate violence, witnesses reported being
beaten for other reasons, including: bed-wetting and soiling, inattention in the classroom, left-
handedness, stammering, not knowing lessons, disclosing physical and/or sexual abuse,
absconding, ‘stealing’ food, talking in line, delay in obeying an instruction, ‘looking the wrong
way’ at a staff member, attending the infirmary, complaining of feeling unwell, general wear and
tear on clothing and footwear, talking at meals or in bed, talking to girls, playing soccer, losing a
game against an outside team, perceived sexual thoughts or actions and not being able to carry
out work tasks quickly and properly.
If you turned up late ... he ...(Br X)... used to do an inspection, if there was a speck of
dirt, that would trigger it off. He used a leather, hand, cane on the legs, hand, arse or
wherever ...(he)... had a temper, you would be black and blue, you would be on the
floor. He used to make you take your trousers down and he would give it to you on the
behind or wherever, he did it to me a few times. You wouldn’t do anything because he
had a whistle and he would call other Brothers and they would weigh in, when these
guys got going you would do nothing, if they couldn’t get you one way they would get
you the other, kick, hit, you were knackered.

He ...(Br X)... flogged me one time, I was working in the piggery. I used to be starving,
the pigs used to get the Brothers’ leftovers and one day there was lovely potatoes and I
took some and I took a turnip. Br ...X... caught me and he brought me up to the
dormitory, he let down my trousers and he lashed me. He always wore a leather,
around 18 inches ...(long)... and it was all stitched with wax, his leather was very thin. It
was about an inch and a half, others had leathers about 2 inches. He lashed me, he
flogged me.

~From the irish Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse

Goddess, these people hate the body.

Picture found here.

Oh, The Sisters Of Mercy, They Are Not Departed Or Gone

The following account of a typical day was given in evidence by a witness who reported she was removed from the classroom at the age of 12 years to work full-time in the Industrial School:

There was no electricity in the laundry and it was steam mechanised. Myself and ...named 2 co-residents... were told we had to work from Monday morning. Three of us, we used to have to go down and light the furnace that heated the whole school part. On Monday we got up at 6 o’clock in the morning, we lit the fire, then 3 of us took it in turn to keep shovelling the coal in to keep the steam up in order that the machinery in the laundry ... would keep going. On the Tuesday we had the ironing to do ... we had ...(a large number of)... nuns in the convent and we had to do their ironing and the white things had to be starched. I had to get up at 7 o’clock and there was a round boiler thing. We, 3 of us had to light that and as soon as it got red hot you put the old fashioned irons around it, between 20 and 30 irons. The older girls, there were 8 senior girls, were given the job of ironing all the white things for the nuns. On Wednesday that was the baking day.... On Thursday we would go out and weed the garden ... or ... in summer if there was turf coming in, the lorry would just leave the turf there and the nun would come in and say “you, you and you go out and throw in that turf.” On Thursday the 3 of us used to have to go down and clean that big boiler out, clean the ashes and set it again for Friday and the laundry. On Saturday then we would do odd jobs, go over to the convent and did “blocks” ... polish the floors with these big block things to get up a shine on them.

~From the Irish Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse

Photo found here. Warning: Free Republic

My New Name For A Blog

Really. If you can only read ONE blog a day, it should be First Draft.

My New Name For A Blog

What NTodd Said.

Poison Garden Porn

I love this poison garden! (Be sure to check out the slide show.) And I may have to plan a trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens to see their Wicked Plants Exhibit. I've put Wicked Plants on my wish list. Some light, summer reading!

/Hat tip to Karin in comments at Eschaton

More info here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ireland Should Have Kept The Snakes And Kicked Out That Nasty Patrick Person

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Ireland's long-awaited report on Catholic abuse of children leaves one sick to the stomach. Sexual abuse of minors was commonly linked with violence, the report said, and “ranged from detailed interrogation about sexual activity, inspection of genitalia, kissing, fondling of genitalia, masturbation of witness by abuse and vice versa, oral intercourse, rape and gang rape”. Some of the victims experienced abuse throughout their time in the care of religious orders.

Yahoo says The report found that molestation and rape were "endemic" in boys' facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers order, and supervisors pursued policies that increased the danger. Girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless.

"In some schools a high level of ritualized beating was routine. ... Girls were struck with implements designed to maximize pain and were struck on all parts of the body," the report said. "Personal and family denigration was widespread."

Humiliating women to make them feel worthless is pretty much what the catholic church is all about, as near as I can tell.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New ABC TV Show On Witches

This will not end well.

And, at 10, "Eastwick' is based on the novel by John Updike, which then got turned into the flick, about three women who are witches and live in a small town in New England that's the region of the country with the best soil for breeding witches. This time around, the witches are Rebecca Romijn, Lindsay Price and Jaime Ray Newman. No, there are no non-hot witches. We're guessing that's because if you're a witch and you're not hot, one of the first things you do with your powers is fix that.

More here.

Iris Chrysographes

I wish that you could smell the flowers through the internet. The smell is a bit wetter and a bit deeper than most other iris.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My New Name For A Blog

What Echidne Said.

Witches In Urban Centers

They tend way more towards Wicca 101 than towards Wicca 102 (not that there's not a need for good Wicca 101 books), but I generally enjoy Ellen Dugan's books. I'll likely buy her new book on Wiccan gardenging as much for the section on urban gardening, as anything else. Most Wiccans today live not on communes in the woods, but in urban centers, something far too few Pagan authors acknowledge.

Picture found here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Butterflies At Brookside Gardens

He's not looking up in the picture, but all I can think when I see it is the poem that says: And children's faces looking up, holding wonder like a cup.

Helen Of Troy Does Countertop Dancing

The world is full of women
who'd tell me I should be ashamed of myself
if they had the chance. Quit dancing.
Get some self-respect
and a day job.
Right. And minimum wage,
and varicose veins, just standing
in one place for eight hours
behind a glass counter
bundled up to the neck, instead of
naked as a meat sandwich.
Selling gloves, or something.
Instead of what I do sell.
You have to have talent
to peddle a thing so nebulous
and without material form.
Exploited, they'd say. Yes, any way
you cut it, but I've a choice
of how, and I'll take the money.

I do give value.
Like preachers, I sell vision,
like perfume ads, desire
or its facsimile. Like jokes
or war, it's all in the timing.
I sell men back their worse suspicions:
that everything's for sale,
and piecemeal. They gaze at me and see
a chain-saw murder just before it happens,
when thigh, ass, inkblot, crevice, tit, and nipple
are still connected.
Such hatred leaps in them,
my beery worshippers! That, or a bleary
hopeless love. Seeing the rows of heads
and upturned eyes, imploring
but ready to snap at my ankles,
I understand floods and earthquakes, and the urge
to step on ants. I keep the beat,
and dance for them because
they can't. The music smells like foxes,
crisp as heated metal
searing the nostrils
or humid as August, hazy and languorous
as a looted city the day after,
when all the rape's been done
already, and the killing,
and the survivors wander around
looking for garbage
to eat, and there's only a bleak exhaustion.
Speaking of which, it's the smiling
tires me out the most.
This, and the pretence
that I can't hear them.
And I can't, because I'm after all
a foreigner to them.
The speech here is all warty gutturals,
obvious as a slab of ham,
but I come from the province of the gods
where meanings are lilting and oblique.
I don't let on to everyone,
but lean close, and I'll whisper:
My mother was raped by a holy swan.
You believe that? You can take me out to dinner.
That's what we tell all the husbands.
There sure are a lot of dangerous birds around.

Not that anyone here
but you would understand.
The rest of them would like to watch me
and feel nothing. Reduce me to components
as in a clock factory or abattoir.
Crush out the mystery.
Wall me up alive
in my own body.
They'd like to see through me,
but nothing is more opaque
than absolute transparency.
Look--my feet don't hit the marble!
Like breath or a balloon, I'm rising,
I hover six inches in the air
in my blazing swan-egg of light.
You think I'm not a goddess?
Try me.
This is a torch song.
Touch me and you'll burn.

Margaret Atwood

Picture found here.