Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Monday, February 27, 2006

Queer Poetry

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If you weren't at last night's poetry event at the Harwood, you missed some truly wonderful poetry from Dodici Azpadu, Jill Beyer, Charles Damon Catlett, Russell Maynor, Lhyve Oakwoman, and yours truly. Topics ranged from a gutwrenching narrative poem about an adolescent boy whose father found his journal (containing all of his homosexual fantasies), to issues of gender and relationships, to humorous, to organic, to erotic.

The only thing missing was YOU (if you weren't able to attend).

By all means, don't miss the next two in the Queer Poetry Series! Mark your calendar NOW, bring your work to share, and be prepared to be amazed and inspired by the range of gifts in our community.

#2 in the Queer Poetry Series: Sunday, March 26, 6-8 pm, Harwood Art Center Theater, 7th & Mountian NW, ABQ
#3 in the Queer Poetry Series: Saturday, April 29, 7-9 pm, Harwood Art Center Theater, 7th & Mountain NW, ABQ

See you there!

Mary Oishi
"...dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem..."
- Walt Whitman, in preface to Leaves of Grass

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Oprah's brood is hatching

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Oprah is my black cochin frizzle bantam hen. Harpo is my white cochin frizzle rooster.

He doesn't know it, but he's becoming a daddy, even as I write.

Oprah began sitting a nest three weeks ago. I marked it on the calendar. I was expecting them to hatch tomorrow. Guess I counted wrong?

I was going to bed last night when I heard peeping. Oprah's nest is in shredded paper inside a flat, cardboard box. The box is topped with the cover to a cat litter box. It's sitting on my night stand, by my bed. Oprah's my smallest hen. The roosters pester her -- and Harpo -- something fierce. Harpo mostly lives outside the compound I built, to get away from the big guys.

Oprah began begging to come in the house. I've been letting her come into the kitchen and my bedroom when things got tense outside. She laid an egg on my bed, so, I thought I should give her a nesting box.

When she began to be really serious, and was having regular "relations" with Harpo, I decided to let her try to hatch them.

I have another small hen, Sake, who gets along better with the yard birds. She had a nest of two eggs, so I brought them in for Oprah to brood. One of them has a "pip" hole in it this morning, and a little beak is popping out. I can't wait to see what it'll look like. I can't remember what breed Sake is, but she's African, a small bantam with a long tail, mottled brown.

I have another hen, Suki, who's sitting a nest outside. She's a Japanese silkie bantam. Her guardian and protector is the duck, who keeps most roosters away, most of the time. She's sitting a nest in a crate in the yard, with the duck by her side. I don't know when she began to set, but it's about time for her nest, too. I don't know how many eggs are in it and I certainly don't know who the daddies of either Suki's or Sake's eggs might be. Could be giant mop roosters, for all I know. Anyway, the offspring ought to be interesting.

I'm building a ceramic baby feeder at the ceramics studio right now. It should be dry enough to fire, after the weekend.

Here's what frizzles are about. The first one looks like Oprah; the second looks like Harpo.

Friday, February 17, 2006

the Union should secede from Florida!

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That's the last straw. Jeb Bush, pregnant chads, no Queer adoptions....

Now, they've beaten a Black kid to death. I just emailed the Bay County, Florida's Public Relations office, since they won't let me email the Sherrif's Department, directly:

I just saw the tape.

When a gang of armed, adult white men surround an unarmed, Black juvenile, hold him down and beat him to death, there's no other word for it.

Close the so-called "boot camps." Learn how to TREAT people! And I do mean "TREAT" as in treatment.

Every day, Florida looks more and more like a bunch of redneck, ignorant fools.

There's no excuse. If the kid DID have sickle cell anemia, he CERTAINLY couldn't sustain a beating!

Own your garbage. You did this. Admit it, repent for it, and change things so it can't possibly happen again!

It took them an hour and a half to kill him, all on tape. He'd been complaining of difficulty breathing, but, apparantly, received NO medical exam at that time which could have confirmed a diagnisis of sickle cell.

http://www.ktvu.com/news/7161654/detail.html They have a slide show of the tape.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

our future president?

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Rumors abound that NM's Gov. Bill Richardson may run for president, next time.

In addition to his apparant "need" for helicopters, international junkets, and an Albuquerque office with marble walls, he has squandered state (and we're one of the poorest in the Union) taxpayers' money by the boatload.

We're running a state surplus, thanks to inflated petroleum prices.

But I can't get my teeth fixed.

It's hard to eat. I can't speak normally -- on the phone, in person, and CERTAINLY not on a radio microphone. When I smile --even when I merely speak normally-- people see my teeth and become suspect. I've been refused service, had security called on me, been physically attacked on the streets and DEFINATELY refused employment, based on my teeth.

I have a chronic infection, due to absesses in my jaw and skull.

I went to First Choice Dental, community clinic for low income, today. I tried to schedule an appointment. My Medicaid doesn't cover dental.

I'll have to pay a $25 copay, per visit.

My income's $640; my rent's $450.

So, I called the state's Income Support office. They handle my Medicaid and food stamps (a whole $62 per month).

I wanted the telephone extension and name of my worker. The receptionist refused. Instead, without being qualified to do so, SHE insisted SHE would solve the problem! I STILL don't know my worker's name and number!

When I described my situation, she REPEATEDLY told me to go to First Choice, in spite of my insistance that $25 per visit was beyond my means. She said that's a really low copay, compared to other insurance companies. I replied, "sure, if you're middle class. But I'm not!"

I said, "what can I do?"

She said, "Well, I WORK for a living!"

She continuously asserted that I was not qualified for Medicaid dental.

When I'd ask why not, she first said, "because you're elderly."
"I'm only fifty!"
"Well, then, you're on SSI."
"I'm on SSDI!"
"Well, then, I don't know...."
"What do I DO?"
"Are you homeless?"
"No, that's why my rent is over four hundred a month..."
"Oh, that's right! Well, go there and lie. Tell them you ARE homeless. You know, you have to lie occasionally, when it's necessary."

That's the official position of the State's Income Support Division.

The clinics are broke. They'll have no budget again until July. They're accepting no new appointments, except emergencies.

So, next month, I'll forgo repairs to my electric bike. I'll illegally drive an unregistered, uninsured vehicle (without a driver's license) to the clinic. They accept emergencies ONLY by 6am. There's always a long line. There is NO bus service that early in the morning. It's too far to walk.

I have to risk jail to go. I have to give up repairing my only source of independent transportation to go.

But the governor has marble bathrooms and a helicopter.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


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Y'know, I've been a Unitarian Universalist for longer than I can remember. But I don't attend any churches. Most congregations are upper middle class and squeeky academic. It's pretty elitist, and I'm tired of having to educate them on the realities of being a multiracial, Queer, disabled woman on a tiny income. So, I stopped going. But, philosophically, I will always be a UU, minus the committees.

So, I found this long, forwarded email today. It's fromhttp://www.soulforce.org. They sound like good people, for those who have the energy, anyway.

But I really don't want to receive forwarded emails from them. So, I wrote the sender, whom I know from a totally different group:

I'm an agnostic, Queer Witch. I have no interest in assimilating into
Abrahamic religions traditions who've murdered my people for centuries.

Apparantly, this email list emphasizes the latter. Therefore, I have
no interest in these mailings.

In fact, I have no idea why I'm on this email list. Could I please be
removed from religious mailings, since my faith traditions aren't
> Subject: Soulforce Announces New Executive Director and
> Dedication to Ending Homophobia at its Source


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I couldn't sleep this morning, so I watched some tv. I've never watched The Daily Buzz before. The promos seemed so juvenile, I wasn't interested. Well, I watched some this morning and was horrified. The so-called "anchors" don't simply report news; they editorialize. And their commentaries are reactionary, ill-informed and extremely biased. Even the stand-up "newsreader" has to inject the most ridiculous, poorly-thought-out and biased comments while reading stories. They also just HAD to comment that the PBS evening news is boring, congratulating themselves on being more entertaining, I guess. Well, news is NOT entertainment. It's information. Muddy, incoherant promotions of particular agendas is not news. It was aweful. And it's the future of tv news.

I'm going into the ceramics studio today. I'm worried about my work and my tools, and need to check on everything. I also need to uncover it from plastic, so it'll dry in time to fire. I made Ma a couple of Valentine's Day presents. They need both first firing, glazing and second firing, and the 14th is coming soon!

The goats are doing great. They can drink more than five oz. at a time now. They're very active and strong. They sleep less and play more.

My neighbor complained to me about a black rabbit, eating her rose bush. I don't have a black rabbit. But I saw the varmint in her yard. I made her brother and sister help me catch him. He's HUGE, very strong and not a bit domesticated. I've got him in my dog carrier for temporary purposes. Once I've rabbit proofed my enclosure better, I'll set him loose out there with the chickens. When I grabbed him, he screamed like a stuck pig! I don't blame him for hating me: I chased him for over an hour, pulled out some fur in the capture, and then confined him to a small, dark space in a room with a dog and two goats!

I have nothing else to report today, really. Just thought I should check in.

Oh, we're returning "The Hours," a movie, loosely based on Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. It was unnecessarily confusing. And I have no patience for sympathetic apologias for suicide. It angered me, for that. Ms. Woolf suffered serious, psychiatric disorders which, even today, often go either untreated or mistreated. I understand her decision to end her life. But the other two characters, an attempted and a completed suicide, I don't forgive. The attempted was pregnant. The completed fell out a window in the presence of his best friend. Both are unforgivable, in my opinion. Yet, I think we're to believe these characters were, somehow, noble? Nah.

I've been suicidal. I'll tell you what: courage is NOT committing suicide, even when one has NO reason not to do it. I mean, I had no family, no support, no money and often, no home, when I was suicidal. I could see no reason to continue living in pain and poverty. But, somehow, I made myself hold on until the crisis passed.

Frankly, I don't think I'll ever be suicidal again. Unless, of course, I contract an illness or disability which would SO compromise my quality of life that I needed to proactively end it, if I could.

But psychological crisis will probably never be an incentive for me to kill myself.

Well, I'm returning the DVD today, not having watched the full-length commentary, as I'm just not that interested, thanks.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

goat support & pottery woes

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I called Town & Country Veterinary this morning. I've been trying to figure out how to wether (castrate) my billy. I could cut him, myself, but I can't get the required drug without a prescription, and it costs fifty dollars, for WAY more than I'll need.

Well, the receptionist at T & C happens to be a member of New Mexico Pygmy Goat Club. Now, as it happens, most members are into show goats. I have no interest in any such thing. It's expensive and impossible, really, with no car. The kids sell for upwards of three hundred dollars, each. Not so much.

BUT, they can help me BAND my billy. Some members have the tool that stretches an elastic band over the scrotum. It's uncomfortable, at first, but only for about an hour or so. I can apply some topical anesthesia to help with that. It's clean, not prone to infection and the least-invasive method, really.

I don't have to worry for about 6 more weeks yet.

I also don't have to worry about worming, until they're off formula/cows milk. But worms will kill a goat pretty fast, at least, almost as fast as you can notice symptoms. Generally, once a goat is "down," ie: not able to walk, it's dying.

The kids are more rambunctious today than ever. They're eating a LOT and are very active for a longer period between naps. Right now, they're curled up, under my feet, as I'm writing.

The ceramics studio is open from 2-5 today, so I'll feed them again right before I take off for the bus stop.

Hell, they're not sleeping, they're nuzzling my shins. I'm the Giant Teat Of The Universe now. My sole purpose is feeding, in their eyes. Oh, and taking them out to the yard for adventures.

All the other animals are fine with the goats. The roosters are a bit scandalized, though. Harpo (I have to post his photo here) is tiny and easily intimidated, but he actually challenged a too-curious goat yesterday. He hides from all the other chickens. But he'll defend himself from a kid.

I worked on cleaning the house most of yesterday, so I'd feel better about heading out to work on pottery today. I bought myself 2 sets of pottery tools: one for here, one for there. One set came with a canvas apron, too. I marked all the tools with Sharpy markers. I wrote "Gone to Pot" on the apron. It has pockets, so I can keep my tools on me when I'm there. Some guy picked up one of my borrowed tools the last time I was there. I had my tools on the sink counter, to dry from washing. He just decided he needed one of them, without asking anybody. The studio provides tools to borrow, but they must be returned. I was just flummoxed that somebody would just TAKE something like that without asking! I don't need to get in trouble for somebody else's stupidity. So, I have my own tools, identifiably mine. If I catch the son of a bitch with something of mine in the future, I could stab him in the heart with another tool, I suppose... jees...

My stuff should be dry enough to smooth, decorate and set on the shelf to be fired. Once that's done, I can glaze them to be fired again. I'm looking forward to playing in glazes.

I'm going to practice making some beads, here at home. I'm thinking of buying my OWN clay. The clay there is recycled. I hurt myself, trying to throw a pot with dry, cold clay that wouldn't work right. It's all mixed up: terracotta, white, whatever people were using. It's soaked in water and run through what looks like a giant meat grinder. It extrudes in round pieces, about 3 inches round, cut into about 6 inch sections. And there was a glass melting class once, who left shards of glass in the clay to be recycled. It isn't sharp, but, if a piece sticks to a finger or thumb while the wheel's turning, it WILL cut the clay and damage the piece. So, I'm thinking I'll buy my own clay.

There are lockers there, big enough for my tools, apron and clay. I just need to find one of my padlocks with a key.

Public ANYTHING is so problematic!

Monday, February 06, 2006

training goats

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Rule Number One: Don't ever chase a goat away from the scene of its crime. You can not catch it and the goat knows it. Just making it leave the areas is not a correction. In the goat's way of thinking it won the confrontation and you may actually be teaching the goat to play games in which it tries to see how much stuff it can get out of the bag before dancing away just our of reach. To the goat this is fun, but to the humans in camp it leads to thoughts of goat murder.http://www.northwestpackgoats.com/index.htm

I've been researching goat training. Goats are good draft & pack animals. Their browsing is excellent for "weed eating" the yard. In fact, many communities are now hiring herds of goats to remove unwanted brush from freeway onramps, empty lots, etc.

I'm deciding whether to train my goats to collars or harnasses. Harnasses seem more humane; goats, as prey, are uncomfortable about restraints to the neck. But a chain collar can't be eaten by the other goat; a harnass can.

At any rate, I'm thinking my goats can pull a cart to the store. I can outfit them with panniers (saddle bags), too.

As with any animal, the earlier one begins training, the easier it'll be.

I've been letting my doe get away with a behavior I must stop. When I'm sitting on the bed, she'll try to climb my back. As they say on the website, it's cute when they're babies, but who needs, in my case, a fifty pound goat running up and jumping on my back?

I laughed at the above quote; I've been through similar experiences with dogs and cats. They're all faster and more cunning than I. So, training will be necessary.

They're certainly not satanic. They're clever, that's for sure. They're tricksters. But that's not to be confused with evil. What kind of church looks at intelligent mischief and immediately labels it "evil?" mercy! Any creature who thinks differently than they do is automatically damned. The history of human imperialism.

Well, I'll soon have goats and a roommate to feed (they're all, mercifully, asleep right now). Then, I'll pack the goats into their dog carrier for safekeeping while I'm off on the bus to UNM to work more on my pottery. I can only work short days now. I have to come home and feed goats.

I'm feeding them on THEIR schedule. They seem to eat about every three hours during the day and not at all at night. By 9pm, they hit the sack and can be persuaded to sleep in until nearly 8am, if we're quiet. They're eating about four ounces of formula/cows milk at a time. Their poops aren't runny. Their kidneys are CERTAINLY functioning. Their eyes are bright. They play a lot and then just collapse in a ball for about two hours.

I haven't any names for them, yet. Contenders are: Beevis and Butthead, Tristan and Isolde, Oscar and Gertrude, Burns and Allen or Billy and Nanny. So far.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


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First, to answer the question of whether goats make good pets. Depends on your patience level, and how scrupulous you are about housekeeping.

I'm totally impatient with humans. Animals, I can forgive almost anything. It's not their faults they're captive and dependent. It's not their fault I put creatures with predatory natures in with prey. So, I feel it's my responsibility to accomodate them, secure them, assure them and teach them to live peacefully together.

Goats can't, as far as I know, be house trained. I've heard of people putting goats in diapers when they're in the house. hmm...

BABY goats, or kids, are very different from adults. They'll nibble at things to taste them, but their ruminant stomachs are dormant until they're weaned. The nibbling is just curiosity, play and practice. They can't actually eat anything while they're young.

Baby goat pee is almost pure water; it has no hormones, scent, etc. In fact, it smells a bit sweet, like the lambs' formula I'm feeding them. Their baby poo is an inch-long pellet, slightly moist, which is easily discarded in a paper towel. They always pee and poop right after a feeding, so it's easy to know when to throw their butts out into the yard.

I'm currently washing my bed linens. The babies spent their first day on my bed. Much soaking of blankets resulted.

But, the day I got them, they'd JUST been removed from their dam and were being taught bottle feeding. They'd been removed from the property where they'd be born and taken to a pet store, full of strange noises and sounds and a concrete floor. Even the people feeding them were different-smelling than their previous owners.

Then, I bought them, dragged them into a CAR in the bright sun, and brought them to yet ANOTHER strange smelling and -sounding place, with a dog and cats in it! That's a lot of predators around newborn prey.

So, I put them in my bed. They cuddled with the teddy, when I wasn't around. I fed them in bed. I let them evacuate in bed. I let them sleep beside me the first night.

Yesterday, I brought in my dog carrier, with shredded paper in the bottom, and set it on the bedroom floor, with the door open. The goats went right to it, smelled it all over, and practiced going in and out of it. It smells different than the one in which they were transported to the feed store, but isn't a strange concept. Last night, they slept in it with no fussing. In fact, they "slept in" this morning, as the inside is dark and warm (it's sitting near my heater).

For the first time, the goats followed me all the way to the front driveway, where I've erected a garage-sized tent with our bikes and stuff inside. I brought their bottles, my cigarettes and a cup of coffee. I was able to hold both bottles in one hand and smoke and drink my coffee in the other. They drink about four ounces of formula/cows milk at a time.

They're frantic, at first, searching for the alien nipple. Once they latch on, they only let go periodically, to catch their breath and let air back into the bottle.

But once they're full, they walk away. They show no more interest in the nipple. Now, it's time to play, pee and poo.

They're beginnning to gambol, climb and trot. They loved being out in the front yard, where there are rocks, logs and steps to climb and plant materials to nibble.

The girl is the instigator. They boy lags behind. He's whinier than she. He's also smaller and less aggressive. This will radically change as his testicals mature and descend.

I'm going to buy some anesthesia from a vet. supply place. I have some hypodermic syringes I saved from the trash when a diabetic got evicted, back in the War Zone. They're new and they're sterile, although I'll clean one in alcohol.

If you go to that goat site I posted yesterday, you'll see step-by-step instructions for castrating goats. I'll be using the "cutting" method, as it's quick, cheap and generally the less likely to cause complications.

I can't let him mature with testicals. Read the section about bucks, to see some of the problems. Beyond aggression, they piss on their front legs and head to smell very ripe. It can cause skin irritation and infections. And you can smell them from a block away.

And my goats are brother and sister: I don't want weak and deformed kids. If I decide to breed her, I can put up ads in feed stores.

So, yes, goats make excellent pets, if you keep in mind their biology, intelligence, limitations, predilictions, etc. Just like any other animal.

People get very angry at animals, even dogs and cats, for behaving as nature and evolution have intended. They want their animals to behave as THEY want them to, not as they do naturally. It's stupid, imperialistic, egotistical and often cruel.

As my goats mature, I'll be leaving them out more. They won't be able to come in without supervision, or they'll eat and break things.

They'll never be large. Pygmies are tiny, compared to standard goats.

But they're strong, smart, active creatures. And I like my glassware, book- and record collections. I also like my sanity.

The goats now know this is home. They now know I'm the mom. They follow me and listen to me. They trust me. They're not frightened, insecure, etc.

I can expect more of them now than laying all over my bed, peeing on it. And they WANT more now! They LIKE going outside! They like the dog carrier.

So, that's my story.

I had other things to write about, but this ended up pretty long, so I'll wait 'til later.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


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I have lost my mind. My check came, so I ran some errands and bought pet food. There's a feed store, across the street from Kmart. I went there to get some chicken scratch.

I told myself, as I walked in, "now, Rogi, don't buy any more animals here."

Well, I was doing just fine: all they had was rodents, birds, cats & dogs. I wasn't a bit interested.

So, I walked to the counter to order my feed.

....and out pranced two, week-old, pygmy goats: brother and sister.

Yeah, I got 'em. I got some lamb formula, too. And they gave me nursing bottles.

I'll go back in a few weeks for hay and feed.

They slept in my bed last night. I have an old blanket on it, to protect my covers from cats & dog. Now, of course, it has some lil goat poopies on it and will need replacing today.

They're eating fine. My dog, Taz, has somewhat adopted them.

Here they are, sleepin with my teddy bear.

I found a great website: http://fiascofarm.com/. They run a dairy farm, practice humane animal husbandry and practice some holistic veterinary. I'm learning a lot. She has articles on every aspect of goat-rearing you could think of. They raise standard, milk goats. So, proportions are different, as pygmies are MUCH smaller.

I'll castrate the boy, so he won't stink up the place. But I'm NOT debudding them (ie: removing the horns). It requires a hot iron. There's danger of boiling their brains. I'll just make them little hats to cover their horns when they're in the house. Pygmies have small horns, anyway.

By the way, I drove Ma's falling-apart car to run these errands. Imagine, trying to sneak to kids on the bus! lord. I rarely drive it. But it comes in handy from time to time.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


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I paid fees to use the Arts and Crafts studio at UNM. I think it's about $30 for members of the community, but I got in at the "staff" rate of $18, as I'm Volunteer Staff at the radio station on campus.

It's a rather primative facility. The clay's inconsistant, blended from bits of recycled clays. It's sandy, too.

But they have more than five throwing wheels. They have a slab roller, with which you can adjust the clay's thickness. They have SOME pouring molds, but, from what I can see, most are pretty cheesy.

They do have a Jesus mold, which gave me an idea. I could glaze and decorate Jesus statues with anti-war, environmentalist and Queer rights slogans, and place them anywhere I choose around town.

They have five gallon buckets of glazes. They have some tools.

Anyway, I threw my first jar yesterday. It's not too fancy, but it's cute: squat, with a narrow opening and nice lip.

I'm thinking of making bird feeders, bird houses, chicken food dishes, a bird bath and even some ceramic tables for the yard.

I can make things to sell, too, which is a high priority.

I've been studying ceramics on the 'net, too.

It hurts, using the wheel. My thighs were so sore after 4 hours, I could barely sit down afterwards. And my shoulders, arms and back are sore, too. So, I'm thinking this is very healthy. Of course, I've been awake since 4am, as I was in too much pain to sleep.

They have jewelery making there, too. But I haven't a clue what to do there... I'm thinking, though, of making some ceramics with holes pierced, to add chains or cords of beads and chicken feathers. My roosters, in particular, have feathers that look like some sort of wild plummage. I can just snip feathers with scissors.

Despite the pain, I had a good time yesterday. Nobody helped me, beyond a rudimentary tour of the studio.

It's hard to center clay and keep it centered while pulling it into shape. I also got my clay way too wet at times. It was like molding melted chocolate.

I'll take pictures of anything worth bringing home and post them here.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


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"Quills" was far more delightful, funny, endearing and thought-provoking than I'd have hoped.

I was expecting something ponderous, insideously dark, vulgar, exploitive. I was expecting an apologia for the modern S & M community.

Well, I was wrong.

I've always wanted to identify with Sade on some level. I empathized, guiltily, with his need to write without censorship. I've wanted to celebrate his pansexualism.

But I felt I couldn't. I had a moral, ethical and political duty to revile the pathetic bastard.

This delicately-written screenplay freed me. I'm allowed to sympathize with Sade. It's rather like being an animal rights advocate in the presence of an enraged badger. But, nonetheless, I have a right to, in some way, love the old malcontent. Prudence, however, prevents me from actually embracing him; that could be painful, if not deadly.

Sade never, seemingly, practiced what the modern S & M community SWEARS they have adopted: Consentuality. Sade's objects (and I use the word intentionally) were subjected to his "libertine" experiments without their permission, in many instances.

Whether or not current S & M practitioners actually adhere to this consentiality claim is an argument for another place or time. I've been close friends with S & M devotees, and can tell you, from first-hand witness, they're not as scrupulous as they'd like to portray, pretend or believe. The motives of, in particular, the masocistic participants derive from deep, psychological traumas which affect sexuality. Some "bottoms," as they're called, permit behaviors for reasons I suspect are derived from self-hatred. Be that as it may, it's not my role to judge nor to definitively analyse sadomasochism in the modern world. I'm letting myself off the hook. I've learned a lot from my S & M friends: safe words, talking about sex before engaging in it, bedroom and seduction etiquette, etc. I don't participate in any but the lightest forms of bondage, myself. I have no interest in associating pain with sexuality. I'm an incest survivor. I'm more interested in associating PLEASURE with sexuality, myself.

At any rate, "Quills" is a fine movie. It's a little too on the side of revisionist history for such a well-written play and screenplay. The women portrayed seem far too liberated, especially those of the lower classes. They have choices which I seriously doubt would be available to women of the times.

The acting is superb, period.

In watching the full-length with the playwrite's commentary, I soon realized I'd like to be his friend. I suspect I'd have some of the greatest conversations of my life with this guy. He's enormously amusing, well-read, insightful. While soft-spoken and articulate, he's fiercely loyal to the idea that art must not, and probably cannot, be stifled by censors. In fact, he asserts that the very act of attempting censorship challenges and inspires the artist to greater heights.

I argue not only with the portrayals of liberated women. I also argue with the conditions at the mental hospital, aka insane asylum, wherein the movie occurs.

At first, I found it difficult to believe the occupants would have access to musical instruments, choirs, stage productions, painting. Our playwrite assures us that, indeed, the Abby of the institution was progressive for his time and did allow such art therapies. Remarkable!

But one scene betrays a poor understanding of conditions in an asylum of the time. Kate Winslett has just finished reading an erotic passage to other, working-class employees. For reasons I can't explain, they seem to live in an inmate's cell: barred windows, heavy door, no bedding or other furnishings. They're lying on a straw-covered floor. Straw flooring was common for prisoners. It was not only bedding, it was the toilet. Why employees would be living like that is anybody's guess. But here's the betrayal to authenticity: everybody's excited, aroused and laughing at the passage Kate has just read. Kate throws straw up into the air and lets it fall on her body. Um. Poopy, pissy straw? What? People who live around even the cleanest straw know how itchy and pokey it is and would never dream of deliberately throwing it on themselves.

Also, the Marquis' sheets are of such a low thread count and bad weave, he wouldn't have been able to write on them with wine dipped in a chicken bone. This, even though the dialogue specifically mentions that the thread count of the Marquis' sheets would be superior to the bedding of other inmates.

These are quibbles. I watched the "special features." I know the producers, director and writer... and even the actors... paid scrupulous attention to details of the atmosphere and population of this production.

It's an art movie. It's literature. It's fine acting.

Apparantly, the author hovered about for the entire filming of the movie. I'm surprised he wasn't killed for his constant comments, suggestions and insinuations into the production.

The "special features" on this DVD are at least as important as the movie, itself.

I still marvel that FOX released it!

This movie is for intelligent adults. It is not for: children, the mentally unstable, the fundamentalist (these last two I consider to be the same thing, mind you).

Human sexuality is just as complex and misunderstood as human anything else. This film is for those of us who enjoy discussing the misunderstandings, in hopes of learning something useful.