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Friday March 27th, 2009

The Bee God

"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished.
    That will be the beginning."
Louis L'Amour

Hi folks,

The Newsletter will be on break for a few weeks for business and personal reasons.
Talk with you again mid-April!

The curse of modern culture today – and maybe from time immemorial – is the abundance of razor-sharp technique combined with frayed moral fibre. Whether in writing, music, poetry, dance, the arts, the stockmarket, law or the military. Everyone knows someone who is a master of the game but has lost that inner compass pointing to true north. I was watching the new US series, Generation: Kill, about the first Gulf War and over the closing credits are actual recordings of young soldiers, between 18 – 22 years old, mouthing the well-worn cliches about ‘love it or leave it’ and ‘we’re over here risking our lives so that you can sit on your ass over there drinking your café lattes’ etc. Exquisitely beautiful and physically perfect well-trained young men, with the mental and moral comprehension of a piece of liver. Murdering innocent civilians; women and children; animals, whether by accident or design, with no more remorse than 8 year olds playing video games.

The tired argument about serving one’s country, right or wrong, and following orders, merely because they come from superiors, is morally reprehensible. Some laws were meant to be broken. And some laws were meant to be obeyed. One’s own compass determines which is which. Without lawbreaking, women would still not have the vote, African-Americans would still be slaves and there would not be unions for workers. Some laws need to be reasaembled to bring them into the Present: like abolishment of genital mutilation for African women, and the low age of consensual sex, which in some countries is six years old. Of course, when our sense of morality and outrage compels us to violate what we consider an unjust law, we have to be prepared to pay the consequences, which can be unpopularity, dishonour and imprisonment. Exile. Sometimes, death. Do what is right – and suck it up.

It was a shock to hear that the son of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, Dr. Nicholas Hughes, committed suicide this week. My partner Lin and I had just performed a powerful version of Sylvia Plath’s poem ‘Daddy,’ as part of DifficultWomen last week for International Women’s Day. We have been performing this poem since our very first DifficultWomen show back in 1992. I have been involved with this poem since the mid-70s when I recorded a version read by performance poet and writer, Matthew Von Baeyer, for radio, supplying some improvisational blues harp. Sylvia Plath and, indirectly, Ted Hughes, have been part of my life for almost 40 years. Ted Hughes was the recent Poet Laureate of England, but a little known fact is that he was actually second choice. The first preference, Philip Larkin, declined the honour partly for the reason of: writer’s block! How about that!

There’s been a lot of self-killing in the Hughes household and a lot of controversy over the causes. When Sylvia Plath gassed herself, feminists correctly pointed the finger directly at Ted Hughes: his ill-treatment of her and his womanizing. Ted Hughes, himself, and his friends, claimed it had more to do with Sylvia and her ‘instability’. She had tried suicide before, they argued. She was already prone to it when they met. But within a year of her death, Ted Hughes was living with Assia Wevill, the woman, it turns out, that he had been having an affair with at the very time of Sylvia’s death. So he WAS womanizing - that’s an undeniable fact. But ill-treatment of Sylvia? Of women, in general? No way, Ted claimed.

Six years later, Assia Wevill committed suicide. Some say Assia couldn’t get out from under the shadow of Sylvia Plath who had now become an internationally known and acclaimed poet - due in no small part to Ted himself spending the three years following her death financially exploiting and publishing her work (even though he was living with Assia).
Once again, feminists said ‘isn’t it obvious now? Two wives committing suicide in a row. When has that ever happened before?’ Of course, the counter-argument was that, at worst, Ted Hughes was drawn to already ‘damaged’ women. Certainly how could either of these women’s suicides have anything to do with his own personal dynamic; his attitude or method of controlling the home and work environment through his will, his money, his prestige and personal power?
Then, out of the blue, just a year before he died of cancer, Hughes broke his long silence on Plath and published an acclaimed book of poetry titled ‘The Birthday Letters’ which seemed, on first reading, to be a kind of love letter to the memory of Sylvia Plath (even though he had now been living with his third wife, Carol Orchard, for 28 years!) He considered this work a way of finally presenting his point of view on the whole Sylvia-suicide matter once and for all. Maybe an exorcism.
Over the years, however, I have come to see this book as a thinly disguised attempt to rewrite history from the Ted Hughes perspective. I will explain this in just a minute. But first, let’s come now to the present: the recent death of his son, Nicholas. The third suicide in the Hughes household. Now we have something quite different. An entirely new piece of information. Nicholas was neither an artist, like his sister, Frieda, or father. He was a professor of fisheries and ocean sciences. Nor was he drawn to the spotlight, as were the other members of the family. He was an intensely private man. He refused to do interviews or to exploit his family connection with his famous parents. He also was not a woman. So, looking at the pieces of the tragic puzzle now, what do the deaths of Nicholas Hughes, Assia Wevill and Sylvia Plath all have in common? Only two things: self-killing. . . . and Ted Hughes. It is time to once again look the kind of person Ted Hughes really was – a technically skillful poet but also a seriously damaged, psychologically subtle, abusive and dangerous man. The only one left to defend him now will be his daughter, Frieda. Let’s hope not. Let’s hope she finally unleashes her pent-up anger and depressions in the right direction – and at the right person - and does not turn it inward.

Ok. The reason I claim that ‘ Birthday Letters’ is Ted Hughes attempt to rewrite his personal history is most clearly shown in his poem ‘The Bee God.’ This poem is a direct answer to some of Plath’s poems from Ariel, particularly ‘Daddy,’ and ‘ The Arrival of the Bee Box’, amongst others. In the ‘Daddy’ poem, Plath clearly links her father and her husband as part of the same problem. Let’s call it the traditional urge for men to dominate and smother women. But in Ted Hughes’ Bee God poem, he attempts to separate himself from Plath’s father, and tries to explain to us that it is really HER father who is the source of all the pain and suffering. That he, too, was a victim of ‘The Bee God’ who was really her daddy – not him at all. He wasn’t the daddy; he was just Ted. This is hogwash. This is NOT what Sylvia Plath said or even believed. She knew who the cheating and poisonous villain was in her very real present – and it wasn’t her father. Once again, we have Hughes trying to assert his dying will on a defenseless (and dead) woman - and on history. But we will not have a bar of it. Sylvia Plath is immune now. She ‘eats men like air.’ Sylvia Plath linked the two men (and all abusive men of this nature) together quite clearly in ‘Daddy’:

“ You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who
Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look
And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do...”

The tragedy of Sylvia Plath is not that she committed suicide, but that she was still desperate to have Mr Poison Two-face back into her life. That she wanted Hughes back. She was unable to see that, in time, she could have outgrown this man and lived a perfectly fruitful and creative life without him.

RIP Sylvia, Assia, Shura and Nicholas.

Let the self-killing stop now.

Because, finally . . .

‘ There's a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.’

Sources for reference:
The Bee God, by Ted Hughes
Daddy, by Sylvia Plath
Arrival of the Bee Box, by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath reading her own work:
1. Daddy
2. The Applicant
3. Lady Lazarus
w/- (short interview)


Hi Mr. Dolce,
My name is Carlo Dolce like you.
I'm an italian homonymous. I live in north Italy, in a town called Brescia (near Milano), but my family is come from Sicily , a little village in Palermo district called Aliminusa . Your family is come from Sicily to ? I'm a musician, but not professional . I sing and play flute in a rock band named Avanzi di Balera. If you want you can watch our site. Excuse my orrible english, understandable i hope. Now I "SHADDAP my FACE" Un saluto dall'Italia, Ciao, Carlo Dolce

To Joe Dolce,
Beats me why you write all this crap!! Please remove me from your email list asap.
Thanks, S&J

hi joe!
RE: Catullus
1. back when i was studying latin in high school--a subject i adored (semper ubi sub ubi!!!!!!), i discovered catullus (who was not officially on the curriculum), and decided to make his work the subject of my thesis in my final year. since i had a habit of composing limericks and writing them on the various desks i was sat in, accompanied by tiny illustrations of orgies, how could i help but feel an affinity for the guy? his writing is so funny, and, i thought, such a great example of how little human nature changes through the ages. when one is studying ancient history, it can all be made to sound so formal and official, and it's easy to forget that people were just people doing what people do, including writing dirty poems on cocktail napkins at parties. catullus' work is so colourful, and there are so many things one could say about his work and its place in society, that i felt no need to use any bibliography other than catullus' own work and the host of comments on it which would come to anyone's mind whilst reading it. but the rules required a more extensive bibliography--so i provided one, even though i hadn't actually read anything in it. ironically, and much to my shock, my teacher accused me of plagiarism! an investigation had to ensue in which she had to try to locate what i was supposed to have plagiarised from which, of course, couldn't be done as i hadn't even read anything to plagiarise from. any respect i'd had for that teacher was gone, but my respect for catullus, the don rickles of his age, lives on.
i always loved that one where he's insulting the pompousness of some guy, and describes how the guy is so full of himself that he probably believes his shit comes out in clean, tidy little pellets!!

2. do you remember what you spoke to the high school class about? (just-a curious...)

3. etta james! don't you just love etta james? i can't seem to learn to enjoy the modern style of r&b singing. all the florid vocal gymnastics don't sound to me as if they are emanating from the soul. instead, they sound like show-off exercises, with judges holding up number cards as the vocal coach beams proudly from the sidelines. i wish r&b would go back to sounding like etta and aretha and otis and percy again. it must all be aaron neville's fault. i've heard one version of "tell it like it is" in which i counted the word "will" at 12 syllables. but that's ok for aaron. and stevie wonder. everyone else is fired!!!!!!!!!!!!! Xo, Joan

(Note: Joan, I think I spoke to that class about goal setting. As I recall, the way I would begin: I’d pick someone from the class, bring him up to the front, and get him to hold a dart board in front of his head. Then I would pick someone else in the front row and blindfold them and give them three darts. Then I would tell them to throw the darts and try to hit the bullseye ! [Naturally, I would move the person holding the target somewhere safe and the rest of the class would all duck down for dear life in their seats.] Pretty funny. Got their attention though. Demonstration of how it is impossible to hit a target that you cannot clearly visualize. Here’s some Latin:
Hostes alienigeni me abduxerunt. Qui annus est? [I was kidnapped by aliens. What year is it?] or in the event of an alien probe, Qui anus est?)

RE: Lesbos
I spent a wonderful three month on Lesbos in May 1991 - when in my earlier incarnation as a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher I studied there with Angela Farmer and Victor van Kooten (who helped convert me into a non-Iyengar yoga teacher.)
The pix from my photo-album are totally genuine. That sign has not been re-touched.
Kind regards, Collyn Rivers

Hi Joe,
– seems there’s no escape from Sappho’s isle!
Re: above, last year when I was back in Lesbian village of Molyvos (ancient name Mithimna – it’s Not an island!) I reported ( as did the BBC & many others) on the ridiculous case of ‘Lesbians Suing Lesbians’..
- meanwhile, I’m off to Molyvos/Mithymna end of April – until October… will have to check your newsletter from there… Best, Julie C

(Note: Julie, I never thought of Sodomites as being just ordinary folks from Sodom. Shall we take a moment of silence for the folks living in Penistone, England and Moron, Mongolia? Not to mention the citizens of Monkey's Eyebrow, Arizona; Yeehaw Junction, Florida; Santa Claus, Indiana; Gas, Kansas; Dwarf, Kentucky; Eros, Louisiana; Crappo, Maryland; Hell, Michigan; Hot Coffee, Mississippi; Weed, New Mexico; Gaysport, Ohio; Bowlegs, Oklahoma; Intercourse, Pennsylvania; Mud Butte, South Dakota; Lolita, Texas; Humptulips, Washington; and my personal favourite: St. Louis du Ha! Ha!, Quebec.)


Nonna, I'm a Lesbica               
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
(Francesca Sciacca interviewed two Italian lesbians, plus her mum, about reconciling your culture with your sexuality.)
Like most coming out stories, there is always a lot of tears and dare I say a lot of clichés. Mostly I think it is because of the one-sided perspective that it is told from. By all means tell your stories and be proud, but once in a while, if you dare, get interested in how it is for the one being told. A new world opens up.
My Mum, Linda, grew up being the eldest of five, all girls, all Italians and all couldn’t wait to put on the white dress and walk down the aisle with their very own Casanova. It was the 1970s after all and apparently that’s what you did. For me, I never dreamed of wearing the white dress. Maybe it was because I grew up with two brothers, maybe it was because I wanted to be a bus driver, maybe it was because I wanted to have a bride. When most girls were checking out Tom Cruise in Cocktail, I was dreaming of Elisabeth Shue... (article)
(thanks to ArciLesbica)


UN Worldwide Survey

Last month a world-wide survey was conducted by the UN. The only question asked was:

"Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"

The survey was a huge failure because...

In Eastern Europe they didn't know what "honest" meant.

In Western Europe they didn't know what "shortage" meant.

In Africa they didn't know what "food" meant.

In China they didn't know what "opinion" meant.

In the Middle East they didn't know what "solution" meant.

In South America they didn't know what "please" meant.

In the US they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.
(thanks to Walter Stark)


Concerns Raised Over NSW Hacking Bill
Liam Tung

Civil rights and privacy advocates yesterday expressed concern about a NSW Parliament proposal that would allow the state's police to remotely access a suspect's computer for up to 28 days without disclosing the hack for some time. The NSW Government has proposed an amendment to the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 which would, with a Supreme Court judge's permission, give police the authority to remotely access a suspect's computer for seven days at a time. Police would not be required to inform suspects for up to three years.
The full text of the amendment can be found online.


What I’m Reading This Week
Gladiators – The Bloody Truth, by Michael Grant. Detailed look at the history and weaponry of gladiatorial combat, originally a form of religious sacrifice.

Birthday Letters – poetry by Ted Hughes.

What I’m Watching This Week
Mirrors – with Keifer Sutherland. Supernatural thriller. Shock surprise ending!

Generation:Kill – new US series about the marines who participated in the first Iraqi War. Compelling and depressing at the same time. Juno protect us from testosterone driven young boys with guns in groups!

Far North – Directed by Asif Kapadia. With Michelle Yeoh, Michelle Krusiec, Sean Bean. Based on the short story 'True North' by Sara Maitland. A Concerto for Trio and Arctic Tundra. Extraordinary cinematography by Roman Osin.

Bank Job - Directed by Roger Donaldson. With Jason Statham. Based on the true story of the 1971 UK Baker Street bank robbery which was hushed up at the time by of a Government gagging order. The real story of how one of the biggest robberies in British history took place. Murder, corruption and a sex scandal with links to pornographic photos of a certain Royal Family member.

What I’m Listening to This Week
‘Don't Cry Blue’ – Malcolm McKinney. This track and the following track are by two brothers - longtime friends of mine, who were fellow band members with me in the Headstone Circus, back in Athens, Ohio in the early 70s. The other member of the band was US folksinger, Jonathan Edwards.

Todd McKinney's: ‘Hey Lucinda’

The Tumbleweeds: "Don't Cry Blue." Cover of the above Malcolm McKinney song. This country band, from Holland, also recorded a song of mine, ‘My Home Ain’t in the Hall of Fame.’

BB King. This guy was never in my band but I did sit in with the Harlem Gospel Choir once at the BB King Blues Club in New York.
(thanks to Frank Dolce)

Supreme Court Considers Anti-Hillary Clinton Movie
(Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided on Tuesday over a challenge to a campaign finance law by a conservative group in a case that could open the door to fewer restrictions on political advertising.
The group, Citizens United, released a 90-minute documentary film "Hillary: The Movie" in January 2008 when Hillary Clinton , then a New York senator, was running for president. She now is secretary of state in President Barack Obama's administration.
Citizens United released the movie to theaters and for store sales on DVD. The group also wanted to broadcast the movie on cable television video-on-demand but that was rejected by a federal court.
The court ruled the movie clearly was intended to influence people to vote against Clinton and thus was covered by the campaign finance law's ban on the airing of ads or "electioneering communications" right before an election.
The Supreme Court, with a 5-4 conservative majority, appeared divided while hearing arguments in the case.
A ruling in the case is expected by the end of June. The impact could depend on how broadly or narrowly the court rules on the question of political advertising.
Liberal justices said the movie was a form of advocacy designed to sway voters and thus was covered by the law while conservatives questioned whether the government regulation went too far in violation of constitutional free-speech rights.
Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts asked a hypothetical question of whether the government under the law could ban a book critical or supportive of a political candidate before the election.
The liberal justices said the movie was filled with criticism of the former first lady, raising questions about her fitness and qualifications to be president and effectively urging people not to vote for her.
"If that isn't an appeal to voters, I can't imagine what imagine what is," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said.
Justice Stephen Breyer also seemed to believe the law applied to the documentary. He said he had watched the film and added, "it is not a musical comedy," a remark that prompted laughter in the courtroom.
Theodore Olson, the attorney arguing for the conservative group, said participation in the political process was one of the most fundamental guarantees of the Constitution's First Amendment.
Justice Anthony Kennedy , who often casts the decisive vote on the court, said that if there was no difference between the film and a 60-second political ad, then the part of the law regulating communications by corporations or labor unions right before an election might be struck down.
Justice Antonin Scalia seemed concerned the law violated free-speech rights, drawing a distinction between broadcast political ads, which most listeners probably do not want to hear, and this case involving video on demand and listeners who want to receive the material.


“Dolphins were far hornier than Flipper ever let on; randy males had even been known to attempt coupling with human females!’ Peter Holt, writer, molecular biologist

Jessica Alba is apparently always careful when she’s scuba diving because she attracts horny dolphins, according to new media reports!. Jessica discovered dolphins got aroused by her presence when she was shooting dolphin drama “Flipper.” Says Jessica:, “I don’t know if anybody knows this but dolphins get excited, even when you are a human being - and they have long, long… (penises). I didn’t know this until I was being poked by a few of them, which was very rude. I think I learned my lesson. I sort of request female dolphins after that because those are horny little bastards.”



Australian Sex Party
New political party aims to provide “a voice of reason” in the Upper House.

To bring about the establishment of a truly national classification scheme which includes a uniform non-violent erotica rating for explicit adult material for all jurisdictions and through all media including the Internet and computer games.
To overturn mandatory ISP filtering of the Internet and return Internet censorship to parents and individuals.
To bring about the development of a national sex education curriculum for secondary schools as a first step in preventing the sexualisation of children.
To enact national anti discrimination laws which make it illegal to unfairly discriminate against people or companies on the basis of job, occupation, profession or calling.
To hold a referendum to create mandatory equal numbers of women in the Senate and State Upper Houses.
To enact national pregnancy termination laws along the same lines as divorce law — which allow for legal, no-fault and guilt-free processes for women seeking termination.
The listing of Viagra, Cialis and other drugs used to treat sexual dysfunction, on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
To create total equal rights in all areas of the law for gay, lesbian and transsexual couples.
Ensure that the introduction of paid maternity leave is fair and equitable for small businesses.
Abolish sex slavery and sexual servitude by introducing non morality-based immigration policies that allow bona-fide sex workers to work legally in Australia.
Overturn racist laws that ban Aboriginal people from possessing erotic and sexual media in the Northern Territory.
Ensure the sexual rights and freedoms of the disabled and elderly in institutions.
Convene a Royal Commission into child sex abuse in the nation’s religious institutions.
Develop global approaches to tackling child pornography which focus on production of the material rather than its distribution.
Overturn restrictions on aid to overseas family planning organisations that reference abortion.


Man Jailed for Sex with Car Wash Vacuum
March 26, 2009
A man who police said was arrested for performing a sex act with a car wash vacuum has been sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to submit to drug testing.
The 29-year-old man pleaded no contest to indecent exposure last month.
Police said the man was arrested after a resident called officers.
In October last year, police attended the location after a report suspicious activity at a car wash near Detroit, Michigan.
An officer approached on foot and caught the man in the act with the vacuum.



Beware of the Women’s Room

Birthday Vibrator



JOE DOLCE, Student Grade 3

St. Aloysius Academy

“St. Aloysius Academy is a great school. They
teach me so much about Religion, math, spelling,
science, reading, language arts, music, gym, art,
Spanish and computer. Our teachers are nice; they
don’t get mad when you make mistakes. At lunch,
we have yummy food. We have good field trips. My
school is great.”

(Note: Folks, Aloysius is my Catholic confirmation name. I chose it myself when I was 8 years old. It is of Old German origin, and its meaning is "famous warrior." St. Aloysius is considered the patron saint of plague victims and in recent years, many have felt it proper to extend this to include victims of AIDS.)


Smoked Salmon and Ashed Goat Cheese Bagel with Black Caviar

I’ve been eating a lot of this lately. Don’t know why. Probably because it’s delicious!

toasted or fresh bagel (or 2 slices of toasted dark rye or sprouted spelt bread)
finely sliced smoked salmon
ashed goat cheese (or cream cheese)
fresh tomato, finely sliced
onion, finely diced
black lumpfish caviar
salt & pepper
(optional: Capers. Fresh herbs - chives, dill, parsley, coriander,Vietnamese basil.)

Spread bagel with a layer of ashed goat cheese.
Add a layer of diced onions.
Add a layer of black caviar.
Place the thinly sliced tomatoes on top.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Add a layer of smoked salmon.
Add any optional herbs you like.
Add the top layer of toast or bagel.


By what are you saved? And how?
Saved like a bit of string,
tucked away in a drawer?
Saved like a child rushed from
a burning building, already
singed and coughing smoke?
Or are you salvaged
like a car part -- the one good door
when the rest is wrecked?

Do you believe me when I say
you are neither salvaged nor saved,
but salved, anointed by gentle hands
where you are most tender?
Haven't you seen
the way snow curls down
like a fresh sheet, how it
covers everything,
makes everything
beautiful, without exception?

~ Lynn Ungar ~
(Blessing the Bread)

Newsletter Archive and Recipe Index



18 Nutty Pieces of Obama Merchandise

1. Obama Toast
2. Rat Terriers for Obama Button
3. Obama Soap on a Rope