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Word Worth Volume IV, 2004, Issues are available by clicking on the name of the month below.Get Acrobat Reader  Adobe Reader is needed to access them.  A free copy is available here:




Crime and Punishment—Marien Helz


The Lady’s New Clothes—Charles Miess

     Saddam Hussein, unlike his elusive weapons of mass destruction, has been captured.  It is possible those weapons exist.  There was cause to believe that they did.  They could be in a hole in the ground larger, but similar to, the one in which their reputed harborer was captured.  The existence of such weapons, however, is becoming less and less plausible.


Michelle M Mayer

  I have never been much for clothes. I grew up in a large family, and we dressed in hand-me-downs or whatever happened to be ... most nearly clean. Color coordination was not a phrase that would have meant anything to us—at least not to the boys in the family.  I remember the farmer up the road joking that the first one of us to get up in the morning was always the best dressed.

Guns and Other Toys—Marien Helz


The Encounter—Charles Miess

   After Hussein’s capture, we apparently did nothing to prevent Iraqis from primitively celebrating the event by firing guns into the air and thus causing the injury and death of innocent people. The only thing such a feral celebration should demonstrate to civilization is the danger of a society like Iraq’s in which, we’re told, every household has guns—not TVs or computers, but guns....

Photography by

Armin W. Helz

   A lot has changed since that day in February 1991. I was in an unfamiliar land, hiking up a hill of red earth, coarse tufted grass, and fissured rocks. I remember climbing until I could see over the brick wall surrounding the house below. I stopped and raised my camera....
   Tires squealed as a car stopped abruptly at the base of the hill....

Notorious Trials—Marien Helz


The Robbery —Charles Miess

  A society or culture can, perhaps, be best judged by how it treats the people it doesn’t like rather than by how it treats those it does. In February, we saw the beginning of two trials of  rich, famous, and formerly loved personalities.... Both  acquired wealth and fame because they had the power to attract; both have seen that power not simply fade, but reverse....

Test Day
Gary Earl Ross

...She thought about... the stepfather who beat her with a table leg. She thought about the man who kidnapped and molested her—then left her for dead when she was only nine years old.   She remembered how she had to live on her own when she was barely thirteen—how she went to school by day, worked at McDonald’s in the evening, and slept alone in vacant apartments at night.

 William Shakespeare—M H Perry


Casting Stones—Charles Miess

    William Shakespeare, demonstrably the best loved writer world-wide for four centuries, was born  in April, 440 years ago, in a small village in England. In a quixotic, though pernicious, form of grave robbing, critics with too much time and too little insight attempt to make a case for turning Shakespeare into someone else as year after year thousands of times Hamlet agonizes and dies on stages around the globe.


    It all began early that Sunday morning in April. The snow had finally melted, robins were singing as they scouted out spots to build their nests, and the air was as warm as a day in June. It was hard to imagine that a week before, cold winds tossed the emerging crocuses as they pushed their colorful heads through a layer of lingering snow. Now, the golden rays of the rising sun exploded on the blooms of daffodils.... All was right with the world. ...except....

Selling Our Souls—Marien Helz


The Loveliness Within—Charles Miess

   In the middle of the recently departed century, people worked tirelessly to make gambling illegal. Games of chance have slowly crept in, however, under the guise of friendly activities supporting a good cause. Bingo in churches has been accepted as a fundraiser. For a number of years states began a plan to make a great deal of money by holding lotteries, and they place ads encouraging people to participate. The money is supposed to go for important things ....

Michelle M Mayer

   I think of my mother’s journey.... I don’t think people go on journeys anymore. Go ahead and laugh and tell me that more people are traveling today—all over the world—than ever before in the history of humankind. That may be true, but to me a journey is something slow and arduous and filled with danger and disappointment, excitement and elation, hardship and heartache. A journey evokes a sense of the unknown and of things never before experienced.

Prisoners—Marien Helz


The Gift—Charles Miess

     In 1971 a Stanford psychologist, Phillip Zimbardo, did research involving dividing students into prisoners and guards. The experiment had to be terminated early because the guards—even though they were only students playing guards—became too abusive of the prisoners—even though the prisoners were only fellow students playing prisoners....Having charge of others is a heavy responsibility, ...There have been too many instances of college fraternities killing their pledges for us to overlook ... Photography from the 1920's
Armin W. Helz



     Sunbeams danced in the rays of the late afternoon sun that filtered through finger-smudged windows. The smell of dusty fabric and furniture padding tickled my nose as I gradually awoke from a deep sleep. I watched a fly as he walked a zigzag path, avoiding the patches and tears in the back of the overstuffed couch. I could hear my older brother and sister laughing and playing in the next room. The younger two were upstairs giggling ...as Dad tossed them up and down on the bed. My sleepy, bewildered mind wondered...

The Ethics of Loyalty—Marien Helz


The Many Faces of Eve—Charles Miess

    Only a country which generates allegiance in its people can survive outward hostility and inward strife.  Steadfastness to one’s kith and kin is essential for the survival of a species with a lengthy infant dependency and with a reliance upon transmitting culture and learning.  The problem with loyalty, however, is that it requires a hierarchy, and many people get it skewed.  Loyalty to one’s God, or one’s ultimate center of value—whatever one cares to call it, ... Painting


Pei-Hua Chiang

  The faces of arthropods are something we very seldom see.  Usually, they fly by or jump away, or are turned to mush under our shoe before we can inspect them properly.  In addition, some are so small it is hard to see the detail, assuming that we are even disposed to do so.  For those so inclined, though, the microscope is a great equalizer.  It can expand the tiniest face up to the size of your own and open up a whole new world as well as scare the bejeebers out of you.

Sex and Politics —Marien Helz


Liver and Onions—Charles Miess

   “Power is an aphrodisiac,” Henry Kissinger was reported to have said, and if one can judge by the photographs of glamorous women with their wrists lightly entwining his elbow, he found out the fun way.  He was not married at the time, however, and when he did marry, he chose intellect, not starlet.
   Since the country is still reeling from Kenneth Starr’s voyeuristic investigation of President Clinton, the temptation is to declare that someone’s entanglements are no one else’s business. 
Michelle M Mayer
   It’s not that I don’t like liver.  In fact, you can go down to the local diner on the night of a liver-and-onions-special and it’s likely you’ll see me there.  Yeah, I know, cooked liver smells like a barnyard and all that, but I like it anyway—especially when it’s served up with a heaping mound of mashed potatoes smothered in dark gravy.  But it wasn’t always like that.  There was a time in my life when liver and mashed potatoes didn’t sit well with me—but I’m getting ahead of myself—so let me start from the beginning.

The 'Whatever' Syndrome—Marien Helz


Los Alamos Part I—Cheryl Rofer

   In the last forty years, we have seen a decline in professionalism in most of the time honored fields in which people formerly took great pride in their work and in the significance of the field....
Another part of the problem is the Whatever Syndrome—this is simply a pervasive attitude that precision and effort don’t matter.  It’s the outlook that enables some people to wear blue jeans to a funeral.  It’s the posture that causes some people to dress the same to go to the movies or to go to fine theater, ...
   Removable computer disks lost, classified information e-mailed, a student’s eye damaged by a laser. A dismal performance on the part of the nation’s first nuclear weapons laboratory. Along with the Wen Ho Lee episode and the loss of classified hard disk drives after the Cerro Grande fire of 2000, reason enough, some say, to remove the University of California as the manager of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.... Blame is easy if you are looking for publicity and reasons to shift a plum contract. Solving problems is harder.

Honeysuckle TanglesCharles Miess


Los Alamos Part II—Cheryl Rofer

 Albert Einstein once remarked that the most complex subject can be explained simply.  He went on to say that if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it.  Perhaps that is why we resort to important-sounding abstract words—an attempt to hide our ignorance of the subject. The logic goes that if we say something vague enough we can’t be accused of being wrong (and we have the additional benefit of not committing to anything).  Einstein, of course, was right, but he illuminated only part....

   Employees at Los Alamos continue their efforts toward a “restart.” It is rumored that the FBI has found that the two allegedly lost removable computer media in fact never existed; inventory procedures erred. This has the ring of truth, but it has been, as they say in classified circles, neither confirmed nor denied. Four employees have been fired, and one has resigned under pressure. Seven others have been disciplined, ten were found to be guilty of “no wrongdoing,” and one is still on investigatory leave.

Play Ball—Marien Helz


Zoar Valley Part I—Charles Miess

    In the fall of the year when leaves are turning russet, and the harvest moon rises, whose thoughts could not turn to the World Series—even for someone like me who is not very much into sports.  Generally, for me to get into a sport, there has to be some extraneous hook.  A number of years ago, for example, we used to go to moto crosses where motorcycles raced around dirt tracks turning the meadows into scarred mud banks... Readings
   I looked out at a landscape that has remained largely unspoiled since the voyage of Columbus and the subsequent invasion of Europeans that changed much of America forever.  As I leaned over the edge of the cliff I felt that funny tingle in my stomach that often comes with taking a great risk for a great reward.  If I had known that later in the summer a young woman would fall to her death from the very spot I stood, I might not have been so carefree.

The Two-Party System—Marien Helz


Zoar Valley Part II—Charles Miess

  The United States was founded on the two-party system for good reason, and the structure has served well for over two centuries.  The arrangement has its drawbacks, however, when the game of winning for the party overtakes both common sense and loyalty toward the country and the general good.  We’ve seen the worst of that in the past thirty years with the leading party in Congress inaugurating the game of “Get the President.”



A W Helz

   "When it comes to big trees," said Keith, "there are two kinds:  sumo-wrestler big and basketball-player big.  I'm going to show you trees that are basketball-player big."
Katie and I never realized how much of the wonder we had missed, and how much of it we failed to appreciate until we had a guide.  Keith started by showing us a wild grapevine as big in diameter as my head.  Keith explained how grapevines do not climb up a tree, but ...

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Publisher: Aurora Artisans®, LLC       Editor: M. H. Perry
Contributors: Marien Helz
· 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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