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Word Worth Volume VII, 2007, Issues are available by clicking on the name of the month below.Get Acrobat Reader 
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Hanging Saddam HusseinAnna Seymour


The Boxed IdentityRita Banerji

   It’s a bad idea. Don’t do it.
   There’s no question that Hussein gave the commands that engendered the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Nor is there question...

     This editorial was planned and written several months before Saddam Hussein's hasty execution. While it was being posted, we discovered, the execution was taking place on the other side of the world. We decided to run the piece anyway.

Kipp's Restaurant by
Charles Miess

   ...while Eva could treat her new nationalism with light humor, ...the process for most people is often agonizing and disorienting.  As was recently seen in Yugoslavia, the restructuring of a nation’s borders is frequently accompanied by bloodshed and unmitigated violence of a manner that undermines humanity itself. Those who survive it are left to cope with the loss of property, family, and community. And oftentimes, even if these people have relatively safe and brand new nations to inhabit, they still can’t overcome an....

The Tragic HeroM H Perry


Wintering OverCharles Miess

   The ancients had it right when they looked at what constitutes real tragedy. ...  Aristotle analyzed drama in order to determine what constitutes tragedy and why we are drawn to it. Tragedy in its truest and deepest form probably compels our attention because of its significance. It is life with its greatest consequence, and we cannot ignore it...
   The most intriguing of the tragic heroes, however, are not those from the legends of yore but those from most recent history: those living a few decades ago, those living a few fortnights ago.
Photography by
Beverly Roe
   The ritual was about to begin.  The temperature in the sauna was 200 degrees; outside it was 113 below zero.  Five young men and women sat silently on slatted wood benches preparing for their ordeal by soaking up the life-sustaining heat.  Then, clothed only in courage, determination, and a pair of boots, they plunged into the unspeakably cold night.  Cold so intense that steel becomes as brittle as glass, and diesel oil—despite being spiked with jet fuel—turns to jelly.  They were in a race with frostbite, hypothermia, and death ...

Designer LogicMarin Hoelz


Cabin FeverCharles Miess

   Fashion shows are attempting to redeem themselves by beginning to ban models who are too thin. This occurred after the death of a model who is thought to have had an eating disorder. One designer demanded that they not even consider this because it interferes with designer artistic freedom. He felt that it was his right to design for skeletal women and require that they be so... If there has ever been a case of trying to pull a trailer by hitching it to the front of a car, this is it. ... they ...should be required to put their clothes on ... a motorized dry cleaner’s rack. 
Photography by
Kevin Roe
   The Great Lakes are Nature’s snow making machine. Cold Canadian air is warmed as it passes over the water and picks up moisture—lots of it—a gazillion tons of it, in fact. Then it passes over the cold land and drops it in abundance, in the form of snow and other frozen yuck, most of it right on my house. I had often wondered why on earth my ancestors settled in this region. Did they have any idea what they were getting into? Did they think about the abysmal legacy they would leave to their progeny? Did they ever think about me?

Real DesigningMarin Hoelz


Four-Thirty in the MorningCharles Miess

   After the Oscar Awards, fashion columnists selected pictures of actresses and labeled them “good” and “bad.” There was little difference between the ones they chose as good and those they chose as bad. A column on blue jeans maintained that it was worth paying a high price for designer jeans. They pictured a girl who bought the high designer product. The jeans made her legs look like two by fours and her torso like a board. The jeans had no shape and she had no shape when she wore them.
Photography by
Armin W. Helz
   Crisp, clear mornings are the best.  Unlike the hot humid days of summer, the cold, dry air is packed with energy-giving oxygen.  And unlike the summer, my body heat can be regulated for perfect comfort with layers of modern wind-stopping, water-repellent, and insulated clothing.  I am comfortably warm, but not sweating, so I can walk many miles without the need to carry water as long as I “camel up” before I start....It’s Sunday morning, and I’m on an almost deserted road several miles long leading into a quiet valley.

Yet AgainMarin Hoelz


The Hidden Tragedy ...Charles Miess

   After the Colorado High School shootings, a journalist wrote about the column she was writing on the subject. The piece was getting too long, so she and her editor agreed that it would be divided into sections, and she would use the second part the next time. After they agreed on "the next time," they couldn't believe they had said that—yet they and we know that there will be a next time—and a next, and a next—until we take control of our lives.
Photography by
Charles Miess
   The lesson of nine-eleven is that it is difficult to stop those who place little value on their own lives.  The lesson of Iraq and Afghanistan is that hard-line tactics create enemies faster than we can kill them.  We live in a dangerous world.  The best we can do is control the violence without unnecessary infringement on the rights of innocent people.  ...For now, let’s explore another aspect of this tragedy that few journalists are prepared to discuss.

IronyAnna Seymour


Great Balls of FireDave Trageser

   Don Imus is suing CBS for firing him because he claims that they could have turned off the microphone when he called a girls’ basketball team “hos”—meaning whores. He thinks he’s the victim. That’s irony number one.
   Irony number two is that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton rushed to the girls’ defense. It’s good that they did, but where have they been all these years that rappers have been doing the same?—AND African Americans were not the group slurred.

Dream World
Charles Miess
  The year was 1957 and a type of music that had never been heard before was sweeping the country—relegating songs like “How Much is that Doggie in the Window?” into the dustpan of history.  The new music had elements of the blues, gospel, country and western, boogie-woogie, and rhythm and blues, but it was much more than the sum of its parts.
   I would listen at night, in my bedroom, to the single radio station in Buffalo,...
   Illustration by Susanne Woyciechowicz

Now More than EverAnna Seymour


A Perfect Pair of ShoesCharles Miess

  Some months ago, a brief article appeared in the newspaper about a town councilman who refused to salute or stand during the pledge of allegiance to  our flag. This was his statement against the war and the president who rushed us into military action with faulty information. Some people have said that they can’t stand looking at our flag and tear up pictures of it when they see it because they detest the war. I find this appalling and disgusting.
   If there is anyone living on this earth who has never done anything they are ashamed of, it’s because they have no shame. No one living is perfect, and no ...country ... is perfect.

Photography by
Kevin Roe

   Imelda Marcos had over a thousand pairs of shoes.  When she and her husband were deposed from their rule in the Philippine Islands, the opposing forces found a virtual museum of ridiculously expensive shoes in the presidential palace.  To me, she was the epitome of extravagance—unmitigated despicable extravagance at a time when millions in her country suffered in deplorable poverty.  I never liked her very much.
   Shoes to me have always been a necessary evil.  They are necessary in the winter to protect my feet from the cold and snow, and necessary in the summer to help convince people I am civilized.

Chain Letter SpamMarin Hoelz


To Bee or Not to BeeCharles Miess

  The new spam-chain letter is far more pernicious than the old because it contains an amazing impious false piety that would make the devil himself gleeful. It instructs you that, “There’s some mighty fine advice in these words,…” and then follows with the most inane platitudes conceivable, ....
   The letter promises you, “This must leave your hands in 6 MINUTES. Otherwise you will get a very unpleasant surprise. This is true, even if you are not superstitious, agnostic, or otherwise faith impaired.” Ignoring the egregious grammatical error, this is wonderful in its superciliousness. “Faith impaired”! What a fantastic ...


August Blossoms
 by Word Worth



   I couldn’t shake an eerie feeling while walking through the field outside the place where I work.  Yet, in most respects it was a perfectly normal summer day.  The infrequently mowed grass was alive with pink tufted clover, brilliant yellow pea-like blooms of bird’s foot tree foil, lavender blossoms of cow peas, and a mixture of bright orange and pale yellow of butter ‘n’ eggs.  The sky was intensely blue with a few puffy clouds, and the sun warmed my shoulders as I walked along.  I luxuriated in another beautiful day in this rural section of Western New York .  But something was missing—something was not quite right.  It was deathly silent.

John T. Molloy—Again!Marin Hoelz


ChaosCharles Miess

   John Molloy became famous in the 1970’s with his book, Dress for Success, which told men how to get ahead in their profession. He turned the concept into a regular newspaper column in which he gave advice to millions of men on how to dress in the workplace to be successful. His advice was based on extensive and solid research which let men know what to wear and not to wear if they wanted to advance in their careers. Some of the advice was surprising: women shouldn’t dress their husbands—in the figurative sense, that is. Women who wanted to chose their husbands’ clothes tended to go for fashion. In the workplace, men...

Readings of
Classic Poems


   Humans, with their intelligence and reason, have sought to eliminate chaos, and in some respects, they have succeeded.  In a civilized society, people inclined to chaotic behavior grudgingly suppress those inclinations for fear of punishment, or they are put in jail or have been relegated to ghetto areas.  They are suppressed or separated, but not eliminated.
   The chaotic byproducts from the manufacture of the goods and the processing of foods that make life more orderly is piled high in dumps or flushed into rivers and lakes.  It is out of sight and out of mind, but ...

The Treacherous YearsMarin Hoelz


October SongCharles Miess

   Adults will often tell children that they are in the “best time of their lives.” The only people who say that are those with poor memories. ...
   There is a point, however, when moving from youth to adulthood that life becomes the most dangerous. Children yearn for their “grown up” selves to emerge from the cocoon, but there is the niggling feeling, vague in the back of the minds, walking beside them just behind their peripheral vision, of gloom and doom. They will be responsible for feeding and clothing themselves, for finding shelter, for protecting themselves from all dangers—what if they don’t make it?
Photography by
Harvey Kaye


   The old man’s gnarled hand gripped the wooden cane tightly while he ambled down the supermarket isle.  As he approached, I nodded and bid him good morning.  “I’m ninety-six years old,” he proudly announced.  I admired him for sure, out shopping at his age, but why did he find it necessary to tell me how old he was?
   Then there’s a stout Irishman I know who works at the same place I do.  He’s seventy-six, but I recently heard him tell a co-worker that he was seventy-seven.  When I challenged his truthfulness, he replied sheepishly: “Well . . . I will be seventy-seven in January.”

Killing American EducationMarin Hoelz


A Sense of HomeCharles Miess

   Discussion in a college or high school class is generally imperative to allow students to explore a subject and understand it fully. This is especially true of situations in which students need to know what is going on in an evaluation process. Increasingly, when a class is engaged in a discussion, a student will raise his hand and ask, “Can I go to the bathroom?”...
   Another version of this is during a serious discussion involving understanding of how students will be evaluated, one student gets up and ambles out of the room, then another does, then another and another. Each of them saunters back as though they had gone off to get popcorn at a ball game.
Photography by
Armin W. Helz




    She stood in front of the TV cameras, dry-eyed, and with an almost cavalier attitude as she surveyed the ruins of her seventeen million dollar castle-like home.  The collector’s house was one of the many casualties of the terrible wildfires that swept through southern California in October of 2007. Among her possessions were priceless artifacts, including Elvis Presley memorabilia. In this age of growing materialism, it was refreshing to see someone who could shrug off the loss of “things” as if they were no more than a misplaced pencil. I envied her.
   “A house is a house,” she said. “My parents taught me not to let my possessions possess me.”

The Calling of ProfessorMarin Hoelz


The CountryCharles Miess

    I began the career of college professor when I was twenty-two years old. I had one and a half Master’s degrees at the time and was in a department in which about two thirds of us were in our twenties. At faculty meetings seated in a row, we were like a line of young steeds. There may be no future time during which opportunities come at such an early age as they did to my colleagues and me. Several were PhDs and college professors at the age of twenty-eight. Many generations before us had not seen such opportunity. We were raised by parents who came of age during the great depression ...



Painting by
Nancy Palmer Miess



    My parents grew up in the city. On a cold March day in 1943, they moved to a remote spot in the country to fifty acres of land and an old farmhouse on a dirt road. Why they chose that forlorn place so far from their roots I’ll never know. Perhaps it was all they could afford. Perhaps it was their dream. To say that the house was in need of repair would be an understatement, but in those difficult times, to own a piece of land was quite an accomplishment regardless of the condition of the house. I was eight months old when we moved there. It was the only home I ever knew during my childhood, and to me ...


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Publisher: Aurora Artisans®, LLC       Editor: M. H. Perry
Contributors: Marin Hoelz
· Aurelia Perry · Susan Johnson · Banwell Goddard · David Clark · Tiffany M. [Stuck] Perry · Wayne Johnson · Alastair Reid · Pei-Hua Chiang  · Ilina Sen [Rita Banerji] · Ruth Hitchings · Darin Boville · Ron Colgrove · Carl Dennis · Renee Oubre · Carolyn Scott Panzica · K Srinivasan · Charles Miess · Aurelia Perry · Cam Adams · Michelle M Mayer · Gary Earl Ross · Cheryl Rofer · Charles Bartolotta · Joy Walsh · Kevin H. Siepel · John T. Baker · Tambourine Gray · Harvey Kaye · Nettie Veling · Graceann Macleod · Anna Seymour · Kateri van Huystee · Kevin Roe · Beverly Roe · Dave Trageser · Susanne Woyciechowicz · Nancy Palmer Miess · Jean Katter · Leslie Marks · Britta Monaco · Nick Monaco · Malka Davis · Howard Miller · Christian Belz · Christopher Wittman · Linda Cross · Bruce Berger ·  Barbara DuBois · James Francis Cahillane · Cathy Crenshaw Doheny · Ross M. Hall · Bonnie Fields · Philip K. Edwards · Helen Peppe · Elizabeth Morana · Jennifer Campbell · Helen Peppe · Elaine Greensmith Jordan · Marie O'Donnell · Robert Coats · Sean Flury · Joshua DeMont · Lisa Wiley · Shaun Bellavia · Dr. Sheenu Srinivasan · Charlie Callan · Judith Washington · Sunny Woods · Hannah French· Joel Hooks · Brian Michael Norris ·  Eryn Leedale-Merwart  ·  Michael J. Cahill ·  Samantha Greiner  · Amy Conley · Vira Katolik · David Kiphuth · Shelby List · Susan Coburn

Distinguished Selections:  Hale Chatfield ·  Armin W. Helz ·  Rabindranath Tagore ·  Herman Melville ·  William Shakespeare ·  E. A. Robinson ·  Mark L Kaufman ·  Edward Fitzgerald ·  William  Wordsworth ·  William Blake ·  John Greenleaf Whittier ·  Alexander Pope ·
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