Periodic Sappho’s Torque Best Commenter Awards

A little over a year ago, I earned a Best Commenter Award from the lovely SJ and Meg over at Snobbery.  It was a delightful moment because I hadn’t been part of the blogosphere long but felt like I had, at least, done something useful enough to connect with other people.  And without a doubt, connections with other people, especially writers and avid readers, has been one of the best parts about having a blog.  I have loved that.

Anyway, I thought this concept was fun and paid the award forward, as I was supposed to do, and it occurred to me that I could continue having a Best Commenter Awards recognition on my own blog regularly.  I don’t know how often it will be — annual?  semi-annual?  quarterly? — but I’ve come up with my own badge and my own set of interview questions (with SJ’s blessing, since the format, though not its content, is shamelessly stolen from Snobbery’s awards).

So here’s how this works:  I will list the award recipients below along with the interview the recipients are asked answer.  We at Sappho’s Torque love and appreciate all our commenters, and winning this most excellent honor is based, very simply, on how much one participates in this blog.  All recipients should please answer the interview questions in the comments section of this post, then post the Best Commenter Awards on their blogs and choose their top 5 commenters to pass the honor and the interview along to, if they so choose, and thanks for playing.  (If they do not so choose, well, boo.  Frowny face.)

So without further ado, here they are!

best commenter badge

Our top 5 commenters (and their blogs, because this time the top 5 are all bloggers as well) are…

*  kvennarad

*  sj

*  David Jón Fuller

*  The Byronic Man

*  laine


And here are the interview questions:

  1. What was the first food you ever learned how to make?
  2. What’s your favorite movie, and why?
  3. Do you own a melon baller?
  4. DC or Marvel or indie?
  5. If you had the time to be a novelist, would you want to be?
  6. What’s your favorite fashion accessory?  Would you be interested in sharing it with us on a Fashion Friday post?
  7. What is the best book you’ve ever read that you really didn’t enjoy while you were reading it?
  8. What are you listening to today?
  9. Do you remember when and how you first discovered Sappho’s Torque?  Will you please tell us the story?
  10. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  11. What’s your preferred variety of Munchkin card?
  12. Complete this lyric:  “If I had $1,000,000, I would buy you…”


And that’s it!  Have a good weekend.

Why Our Society Is Failing As A Collection Of Human Beings

Did that title get your attention?  Was it too sensationalized?  Too broad a category that couldn’t possibly be answered in a single blog post?

I think there are a lot of wonderful things about humanity, I really do.  I am about as far from being a cynic as one can be and still be realistic about the 21st century (even in all its unabashed glory).  And I’m going to try really, really hard to be coherent and level with what I’m about to say.

We have got to change the way we raise children, as a society.  Both the girls and the boys, I mean.  Would we tell our children that traditional fairy tales are an appropriate model for adult life?  In nearly all cases, no.  The boys shouldn’t be taught they have to swoop in to the rescue all the time any more than the girls should be taught to lie catatonic in wait for some boy to come solve their problems.

But what are we teaching them?  I don’t mean what are we trying to teach them, what do we think we’re teaching them.  I mean, what’s real?

Take those football players in Steubenville.  At what point in their upbringing were they taught the message that any part of their behavior is remotely permissible, appropriate, or funny?  What cretins taught them those lessons?

Take the news media who’ve been treating these boys with pity.  HUH?????

This isn’t about alcohol; that’s another problem that needs to be solved, but it’s not this one.  This one is about human rights.  It’s about inequality and power.  It’s about violent crime and the way society responds to it.

I went to an all-girls high school whose mission focused on social justice, so I think in some ways I was luckier than most.  I was taught in my teenage years that rape is no more a sexual experience than being clubbed over the head with a saxophone is a musical one.  I was also taught that rape may come in many different guises but there is no gray area.  It’s ALL morally WRONG.

Blame alcohol and the capacity for the teenage brain to make poor choices.  Blame the media, blame football, blame Todd Akin and his colleagues.  Blame celebrity culture, blame rape culture, blame thousands of years of patriarchal rule.  Blame the constant need for instant gratification or a voyeuristic society.  Blame the opinion that women’s bodies are more beautiful than men’s, or that men’s bodies naturally have more upper body strength.  Blame technology and the “digital age.”  Blame video games and movies and television and the music you hear on the radio.  Go ahead and blame those fairy tales.  Blame Stephenie Meyer if it makes you feel better.  But don’t imagine for one minute that any of that blame-laying actually helps.

DO NOT BLAME THE VICTIM.  (And if you’re wondering, the actual victim is the girl who was raped and whose attack was immortalized on viral video.)

We need creative and incisive thought to solve problems.  Well, there are a lot of creative people in this world who have the ability to think logically.  How about we rethink ourselves first, evaluate the choices we as individuals make every single day, and then let them all add up to something profoundly beneficial?

I don’t know how to fix all this mess.  But I do have a pretty good idea of how not to raise my son and daughter.  Am I perfect?  Far from it.  Am I going to raise them perfectly?  I don’t see how that’s possible, since they’re sentient human beings, not stuffed animals.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try.

I’ve read two excellent pieces on this godawful topic today.  One is Byronic Man’s blog post, and the other is a piece by Henry Rollins.  B-Man always has a really smart take on what’s going on.  And Rollins’ post is so good, I’m not even sure I can pick out a favorite part.  If you can, leave it in the comments section.

Enjoy, be well, and make yourself part of the solution.

2012 Wrap-Up for My Blog

I never intended to read or — heaven forfend — write a blog.  Ever.  In fact, about seven years ago, when people were still doing Live Journal and I found it to be — how shall I put this graciously? Not to my tastes in terms of etiquette or maturity — an acquaintance of mine Continue reading “2012 Wrap-Up for My Blog”

Ooh, Ooh! Vote For Me! Vote Early, Vote Often!

So the incredibly awesome blogger Byronic Man has this Weekly Question of the Week thing, and each time he asks one of these thoughtful delights, his readers can send in lots of answers and then the top choices get picked to be voted on in a poll.  (I think that’s how it works.)  Anyway, this weekend, one of my responses was tapped to be a candidate.  Woo-hoo!

So please mosey on over to his blog and vote for me.  You can, in fact, vote once per day, so please do!  (And voting for me each time would be AWESOME, by the way.  I’m just sayin’.)

Here’s the link to the poll.  Vote for me here!

And here’s the link to the original post where the question was first asked, in case you’re curious about it.  While you’re there, browse the archives.  That is some quality humor.

Thank you!

Voting for the Silliest Thing Contest

So not too long ago I launched another contest, this one rather spontaneous and impromptu based on something asinine SJ over at Snobbery had alerted me to that day.  (Thanks, SJ!)  Lots of people entered with truly inane contributions, some of them more than one.  Yay!

So now it’s time for you to vote on the following entries to my Silliest Thing You’ve Ever Heard Contest, and the winner of the most votes will be offered a guest blog spot on Sappho’s Torque this summer!  (Details to be negotiated with the winner at a later time.)  If you want to read the original posts from participants in this contest, just click on the link above, in this paragraph, and read the comments section of the original post.  (You can find working links to some of the entries there as well, in case the ones in the poll itself don’t work for you.)

You may vote every day if you like.  Be sure to tell others about this incredibly unscientific poll as well.  I look forward to finding out who wins!  The poll closes in one week.

May the best crazy-talk win!

Beautiful Blogger Awards

So this week the delightful SJ over at Snobbery named me as a recipient of the Beautiful Blogger Award.  Wheee!  How cool is that??  (Thank you, SJ!)  You should all check out her blog, which is really entertaining, and which is actually created by two people, SJ and Meg (whose illustrations are absolutely top-notch).  Among some of the great stuff they churn out is a regular column called Trashy Tuesday, in which they (usually SJ) sacrifice their time and mental energy to read and review in detail terrible books so we can feel sanguine about not getting around to reading those things ourselves.  May I never find one of my books on their docket.  😉  I fell in love with the posts when SJ reviewed the Mortal Instruments series.  If Snobbery hadn’t already won this award, I’d be sending it their way this time, too.

Apparently the criteria for the Beautiful Blogger Award are open to interpretation.  Perfect.  🙂

Now, a few simple rules come with this award, all of the pay-it-forward variety.  Here they are:

1.  Thank the person who gave you the award.

Thank you again, SJ!  🙂

2.  Paste the award on your blog.

See above.

3.  Link to the person who nominated you for the award.

It’s up there.  Way back up at the top.

4.  Nominate up to 7 other bloggers.

See below.

5.  Post links to the (up to) 7 blogs you nominated.

And here we go…

MY NOMINATIONS FOR THE BEAUTIFUL BLOGGER AWARD (in virtual-drumroll-accompanied alphabetical order)…..

1.  The Airborne Timeline — The new blog of a first lieutenant in the US Army, who is on her first deployment.  She left last week.  She’s in Afghanistan.  I suspect this blog may be updated catch-as-catch-can, but I guarantee she’s a really good writer, and I’m expecting this will be well worth the effort.

2.  The Byronic Man — This blog makes me laugh like few ever have.  I kind of want to take a sabbatical just so I can peruse the archives.

3.  Deidra Alexander — Her introduction line says, “I have people to kill, lives to ruin, plagues to bring, and worlds to destroy.  I am not the Angel of Death.  I’m a fiction writer.”  I think that about says it all.  I’ve never been disappointed when visiting here.

4.  Lone Star Squared — Here’s the blog of one of my former students, Rachel Rosenthal, who’s currently studying abroad, writing about her experiences with immense passion and joy.

5.  Paula Billups Art — This blog follows the work and art of painter and art teacher Paula Billups.  She is also very talented.  I have a few of her paintings in my humble collection.  We have little hangable wall space in our house, and she totally makes the cut.

6.  Stay-at-Home Economist — Dr. Margo Bergman explains in accessible terms the intricacies of the PPACA, as well as blogging about other Rather Important Things.  And she’s the mom of The Rhyser and Professor X.

7.  you do doodle too — This is a charming blog about all kinds of things meaningful and domestic which really drive home the idea that the Human Condition is something to be cherished.  Especially when it manifests in such graceful ways as stories about our kids and the fun things we do with them.

Ta-da!  🙂  That was fun.  It must be noted that there are many other blogs out there which I enjoy very much, and if the BBA or some other appropriate opportunity comes around my way again, they will be on my list to share with you.

Now that you’ve had a chance to see all these other cool blogs and know how much I esteem them, please take a click-trip on over to my most recent poetry contest, which is closing this weekend.  Read the entries so far and even throw your metaphorical hat into the proverbial ring, should the Muse descend.  Have a great week!

Horse Punchers? Seriously??

At the moment I’m neck-deep in novel revisions and poem revisions and essay revisions.  I’m also working on a couple of new pieces for this blog that are more substantial but which require more time to craft and hone, and which I hope you’ll enjoy.  The upshot of all of this is that this weekend, instead of putting up something that’s half-baked, I want to shine a spotlight on another blog I follow which is hilarity manifested in e-space.  In other words, I find it funny.  I think you will too.  It’s called The Byronic Man, and today he had some timely commentary about a recent problem in the television industry.  Enjoy!

And don’t forget about the poem contest I mentioned last weekend.  Here’s the deets.

Finally, a little housekeeping note for this blog:  I’ve added an archives page, where you can find links to my old posts.  Just look up at the top of this page at the menu tabs, and you will find it.

Have a lovely St. Patrick’s Day!  Don’t forget to wear green so you won’t get pinched.