WOMPO First annual festival of women’s poetry

The WOMPO women’s poetry mailing list has had an amazing month on its bulletin board; all of November they’ve hosted The First Annual Festival of Women’s Poetry online.

Their (our) international section, Women Poets from Around the World, is notable for over 100 posts on Filipina poets, curated by Luisa A. Igloria.

I’ve also really been enjoying the Foremothers posts by Ellen Moody. She gathers up poems by women from around the world from the past, and helps us not to lose our history as women poets. I respect her taste in poetry a lot and her blogging (and emailing) is impressively thorough.

Thanks to Shayla Mollohan and the rest of the WOMPO team for all their work this month! And to the list, just for being there all these years. Mostly, I’m a lurker there. But I love that list, especially for their self-organizing principles and all the people who step up and do the work.

Related posts:

HP Magic Giveaway – Guidelines!

This week, I’ll be running a promotion and giveaway for $6000 worth of HP computers and other software and hardware. I’ll give away the entire package to one person who enters my contest.

I love, love, love the idea of being a Magic Internet Fairy, pouring out an amazing abundance of computers, more than anyone could ever need! It’s a gift that, by being too big, inspires generosity.

I want YOU…. my creative, intelligent, beautiful reader… to have a shiny new computer or laptop of your own, for the holidays!

And I want YOU to overflow with computers, like a geektastic goddess, making other people happy, people who also dream of having the Internet at their fingertips!

Keep one of these sleek, fast, powerful beasts for yourself… and then share the magic. Give the rest away!

I thought about “magic” and what my computer means to me. It lets me express all the million layers of my ideas and creativity, and helps me put that into the world directly. Because I do that, I can connect directly with other people and their ideas. The magic for me in this contest is in spreading that empowerment and connection. Who could I make the happiest? Who would put something unique and interesting into the world, given the right tools?

50 sites, listed here on http://hp.com/go/winhpmagic, are EACH offering a chance to win a complete package consisting of three HP computers plus a mini notebook, an HP MediaSmart Media Center extender, a Photosmart printer (and a huge pack of photo paper) plus a ton of software, and a BluRay DVD. There will be some U.S. IRS tax offset compensation, where applicable.

The winner of each site’s contest gets it all. Each site will have their own contest with different rules and you CAN enter all of them.

To enter the HP Magic Giveaway on my blog, Composite: Thoughts on Poetics and Tech, please do these three things:

1) Comment intelligently on any post on this blog!

A) Respond to a post. Pick something that interests you: feminism? disability rights? programming? Gadgets? Maybe a specific poet, one of the poems from my Anthology?

Tell me what you think of what I wrote.

I’m impressed if you are smart, engaged, un-boring, and being real! Make me laugh! Make me think!

B) Tell me briefly, in 3 sentences or less, how you would “Share the Magic” – what would you do with the prize? Who will you give the extra computers to? Please use links if applicable.

C) In your comment, include a link back to your own blog, or some other place on the net.

2) Post a link to that post and your comment, somewhere public on the Internet; on your blog, your MySpace or Facebook, your Twitter account, a bulletin board; anywhere you hang out.

3) Email me at compositehpmagic@gmail.com. Tell me:
* the link to your comment in #1
* the link to your post in #2

I won’t include anyone as a finalist who I know in real life, and obviously, not my co-workers or family members.

I will be the sole judge and my decision is final.

By entering, the winner agrees to provide me, within two weeks of receipt of the prize, at least a 500 word postable story on what happened when they gifted the extra computers. Pictures optional, but would be great to have along with permission to post. I won’t post names or any other information without your permission.

For me, the “Magic” in this contest will be the list of finalists; the people who I think are especially interesting and creative! Someone will get a bunch of computers — and maybe I’ll get a new blogroll!

one laptop per octopus

Premio de la Magia Hewlett-Packard (HP Magic Giveaway)

Esta semana, empezaré una promoción y premiaré computadoras HP y otro software y equipo con un valor de US$ 6000. Daré el paquete entero a una persona que participe en mi concurso.

Amo, amo y amo más la idea de ser una Hada Mágica de la Internet donando una abundancia increible de computadoras, mas que nadie pudiera necesitar! Es un regalo, que por ser tan grande, inspira generosidad.

Quiero que USTED….mi creadora, inteligente y bella lectora…. tenga una flamante computadora de oficina o una portátil para la Navidad.

Y quiero que USTED tenga una abundancia de computadoras y, como una diosa cheverissma de la computación, haga feliz a otros, personas que tambien suenan con tener la internet disponible al punto de los dedos. Quédese usted mismo con uno de estos lustrosos, rapidos y poderosos aparatos…..y luego comparta la magia. Regale lo restante!

Mientras escribía las reglas para este concurso, pensaba en “magia” y lo que me significa mi computadora. Me da una herramienta para creativa productividad, lo que valgo muchíssimo. Mi computadora me permita expresar un million de niveles de mis ideas y creatividad, y me ayuda transmitir todo esto directamente al mundo. Haciendo eso, puedo conectarme directamente con otros y sus ideas. Para mi, la magia de este concurso es en esparcir ese apoderarmiento, productividad y capacidad de conexión. Quien pudiera hacer lo mas feliz? Quien daría algo unico y interesante al mundo si tuviera las herramientas adecuadas?

Cincuenta sitios, dados aqui en http://hp.com/go/winhpmagic, ofrecen la oportunidad de ganar un paquete completo que consiste en tres computadoras HP, una mini-portatil, una extensora HP MediaSmart Media Center, una impresora Photosmart (y un paquete grande de papel fotográfico) y un montón de software de Microsoft y otros, y un BlueRay DVD. En caso de haber un impuesto sobre la renta en los Estados Unidos, habrâ un ajuste compensatorio. La ganadora del concurso en cada sitio lo gana todo. Cada sitio tendra su propio concurso con distintas reglas y si se PUEDE entrar en todos.

Para entrar en el HP Magic Giveaway en mi blog, Composite: Thoughts and Poetics and Tech, favor hacer las tres cosas siquientes:

1) Comente inteligentemente sobre cualquier mensaje en este blog!

A) Responde a un mensaje. Escoja algo que le interesa: feminismo?, derechos de los personas con disabilidades?, programación,? aparatos nuevos? Tal vez una poeta especifica o uno de los poemas de mi antología? Dígame lo que piensa de lo que escribí. Me impresionaré si usted es inteligente, sintonizada, interesante y genuina. Hagame reir! Haga me pensar!

B) Digame brevemente, en tres frases o menos, como “Compartiría la Magia”-que haría con el premio? A quien regalaría las computadoras sobrantes? Por favor, utilice links donde sea aplicable.

C) En su comentario, incluya un link a su propio blog u otro sitio en la red.
2) Coloque un link a su post y su comentario en un sitio público de la Internet como su blog, Myspace o Facebook, su cuenta Twitter, un boletín,: cualquier lugar en la red que frecuente.

3) Envieme por email a…….
Digame:
*el link a su comentario en #1
*el link a su post en #2

No incluiré como finalista ninguna persona que conozco personalmente ni, obviamente, compañeros de trabajo o miembros de mi familia.

Seré el juez unico y mi decisión es final.

Por entrar en el concurso, la ganadora promete enviarme, dentro de dos semanas de la fecha de recibir el premio, un ensayo colocable en la red de al menos 500 palabras sobre lo que que ocurrió cuando regalaron las computadoras restantes. Fotgrafias son opcionales, pero seria tremendo tenerlas con permiso para colocarlas en la red. No pondré en la red nombres ni otra información sin su autorización.

Ofreceré a la ganadora una lista de concursantes que casi ganaron, para que pueda compartir el premio con ellas, si asi desea. Siempre es al unico juicio de la ganadora como se comparte el premio.

A mi, la “Magia” del concurso será la lista de los finalistas; la gente que creo que son especialmente interesantes y creativas. Alguien obtendrá unas computadoras… y quisas obtendré una nueva bloglista.

Related posts:

Blogging party, and a room full of computers!

Tomorrow people are coming over for a feminist science fiction blogging party. I figure I’ll set up some of the computers (just arrived today!) for the HP Magic Giveaway and try them out! I’ll be blogging about James Tiptree, Jr., Sydney J. Van Scyoc, Geoff Ryman, Suzy McKee Charmas, Octavia Butler, Mary Gentle, Marion Zimmer Bradley… well, at least some of them!

Tomorrow I’ll announce the terms of my contest for the HP Magic Giveaway. I’ll post that here, and will put in some links to whatever results from the feminist sf blog swarm!

Related posts:

Delmira Agustini

Delmira Agustini (1886-1914)

Agustini was part of the Uruguayan generation of 1900 along with María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira, Julio Herrera y Reissig, Leopoldo Lugones, and Rubén Darío; and was also considered part of the “generation of the Río de la Plata” of 1910-1920 (Camps 6). She was close to the Argentine writer Manuel Ugarte and to María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira. Early in her career, poets and critics like Juan Zorrilla de San Martin and Carlos Vaz Ferreira called her “The baby muse” and played up the image of her as a chaste, virginal child. Later, scandal accompanied her image as an artist and poet, her bohemian life and her tragic murder.

In 1902 Agustini began writing a regular column, “La legión etérea,” for La Alborada, a popular weekly journal, under the pseudonym “Joujou” (Rosenbaum 67-68). The column focused on prominent artistic and literary women.

She was considered a modernista, though a maverick “feminine” modernista who, outside mainstream literary circles, was one of “algunas figuras independientes . . . que introdujo una nota de honda y sensual femineidad en la poesía modernista” ‘a few independent figures . . . who introduced a note of depth and sensual femininity into modernista poetry’ (Henríquez Ureña 275). Other critics identify Agustini as part of a movement of women’s poetry: “It was perhaps Delmira Agustini who better represented a certain concept of feminine poetry: a poetry of passion and sensuality, a poetry written to challenge social conventions and to exalt eroticism unabashedly” (Rodriguez Monegal 1:368). Critics early in the 20th century often praise the technical perfection of her verse.

Fiera de amor

Fiera de amor, yo sufro hambre de corazones.
De palomas, de buitres, de corzos o leones,
No hay manjar que más tiente, no hay más grato sabor,
Había ya estragado mis garras y mi instinto,
Cuando erguida en la casi ultratierra de un plinto,
Me deslumbró una estatua de antiguo emperador.

Y crecí de entusiasmo; por el tronco de piedra
Ascendió mi deseo como fulmínea hiedra
Hasta el pecho, nutrido en nieve al parecer;
Y clamé al imposible corazón . . . la escultura
Su gloria custodiaba serenísima y pura,
Con la frente en Mañana y la planta en Ayer.

Perene mi deseo, en el tronco de piedra
ha quedado prendido como sangrienta hiedra;
Y desde entonces muerdo soñando un corazón
De estatua, presa suma para mi garra bella;
No es ni carne ni mármol: una pasta de estrella
Sin sangre, sin calor y sin palpitación . . .

Con la esencia de una sobrehumana pasión!

Fierce from love

Made fierce by love, I’m starving for hearts.
Pigeon, vulture, dun deer or lion,
no meat tempts me more with exotic flavors.
I’d blunted my claws and my primal drives.
Then, set up on a plinth, almost otherworldly,
a statue dazzled me–an ancient emperor.

And I fed my eagerness; over his stone body
my desire ascended like ivy lightning, sudden
up to his chest, feeding on skin like snow;
and I cried out to his unreachable heart . . . sculpture
guarding his glory, most chaste, still, and pure,
his face towards Tomorrow, feet rooted in Yesterday.

Everlasting my desire; on the stone body
I’ve stayed pressed like a living blood-filled vine;
And since then, dreaming, I devour
a statue’s heart, prey worthy of my gorgeous claws;
it’s not flesh, not marble: the stuff of stars,
without blood, heat, or heartbeat . . .

I devour it with deep, inhuman passion!

Nocturno

Engarzado en la noche el lago de tu alma,
diríase una tela de cristal y de calma
tramada por las grandes arañas del desvelo.

Nata de agua lustral en vaso de alabastros,
espejo de pureza que abrillantas los astros
y reflejas la sima de la Vida en el cielo . . .

Yo soy el cisne errante de los sangrientos rastros,
voy manchando los lagos y remontando el vuelo.

Nocturne

Lake of your soul, gem-mounted in night,
you would tell a thread of crystal and calm
spun by the huge spiders of wakeful evening.

Lustral waters born in alabaster cups,
mirror of purity where the stars shine
and reflect the abyss of Life in the heavens . . .

I am the wandering swan of bleeding trails,
I’m dirtying the lakes and soaring in flight.

Related posts:

Growing a Language

I watched Guy Steele’s 1998 talk Growing a Language last night. At the opening description and definition of “man” and “woman” I bristled up and wondered for quite some time if there would be a point to opening with gender or if it was just a throwaway joke about women and personhood. I tried to have faith something interesting was going on; luckily this faith was justified. Keep watching! (Or read the transcript if you’re impatient.)

I think you know what a man is. A woman is more or less like a man, but not of the same sex. (This may seem like a strange thing for me to start with, but soon you will see why.)
Next, I shall say that a person is a woman or a man (young or old).
To keep things short, when I say “he” I mean “he or she,” and when I say “his” I mean “his or her.”
A machine is a thing that can do a task with no help, or not much help, from a person.

As I listened to Steele’s use of language I became more and more hyperaware of words and their grammatical elements. This awareness built up slowly and had a great effect. I especially admired some of the poetic & beautiful bits in the middle:

But users will not now with glad cries glom on to a language that gives them no more than what Scheme or Pascal gave them. They need to paint bits, lines, and boxes on the screen in hues bright and wild; they need to talk to printers and servers through the net; they need to load code on the fly; they need their programs to work with other code they don’t trust; they need to run code in many threads and on many machines; they need to deal with text and sayings in all the world’s languages. A small programming language just won’t cut it.

How interesting that he could not begin to talk about anything, without defining gender! It’s partly chance and the fact that he’s using English; in Spanish for example he would have to take another approach to arrive at “person”.

Related posts:

Feminism, movies, and Twilight


There’s a great post by Ide Cyan over on Feminist SF: The Blog! on two recent vampire movies – Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In) and Twilight. Though I haven’t read Twilight or seen the movie, I was very interested in her analysis of its popular appeal:

Twilight’s popularity is intimately tied into the gendering of romance. Love stories do impress women with the importance of finding a lover of the opposite sex, to fortify the institutions that are at the basis of a patriarchal society. Because we live in a patriarchal society, it is with individuals from the class of their oppressors that women are encouraged to find romance. The mystification of oppression consequently blurs the distinction between the ideal lover and the lover as he represents a source of oppression for a woman.

There’s good discussion in the comments, including the opinion of a feminist SF fan from Sweden on genre movies there.

Related posts:

HP Magic Giveaway: Welcome y ¡Bienvenidos!

Very soon, I’m going to be giving away a bunch of fantastic computer equipment from HP, as part of the HP Magic Giveaway, co-sponsored by Microsoft Windows Live.

I’ll be running a contest here on this blog. You can enter it AND you can enter the 49 other contests listed on the HP Magic Giveaway page!


If you’re here for the first time from the HP pages, welcome. I’m a feminist, activist, poet, and literary translator; I’m a computer programmer and a geeky, gadget-loving mom; I love games and science fiction, blogging, photos, and creativity! If you like to talk about any of those subjects, you’ve come to the right place. Especially if you like to mix up those subjects. Take a look at the tag cloud in the sidebar, and see where you might intersect with me and this blog’s readers. It’s very nice to meet you!

¡Y, Bienvenidos a todos que hablan español!

Stay tuned for my contest guidelines. Meanwhile, drool on some photos of these gorgeous computers that you have a great chance to win!

Related posts:

Lost my mind in PHP

The last few days I went a little nuts thinking about PHP and rewriting a very horrible messy script. I’d write something, make it work, write a little more, break the first bit, go back to look at the first bit and find that I couldn’t understand my own code that I’d written the day before. I ended up throwing it out completely, waking up the next morning and writing the entire thing in a nice, neat, correct way. Within a day and a half, it worked, and is readable. The most important things that improved this sad blob of pointy-looking things and regular expressions were:

– decent formatting, without slacking off! Equal sign in vim, you’re my pal.

– abstract things out into functions. Do it twice? think about making it a function.

– But don’t always, if it’s going to make a simple thing confusing. Keep it clear!

– Name the functions logically.

– Really think about naming variables so that the code makes sense when you read it.

I struggled with understanding what the hell I was doing in the first script because, I swear, everything was named $tag and $another_tag and $taglist and $tagfeed[] and $tag->tag until I was lost in a maze of taggy little passages, all alike. How very, very embarrassing! If you ever see that code, please burn it!

Now all the variables have very logical names so that everything makes sense. Doing that made me understand what I was actually trying to do — much better than I had understood it before. Everything became clear and fell into place.

The php.net pages are truly awesome. I did struggle for silly amounts of time trying to figure out what the hell to do with strings. Like do I want egrep, preg_match, substr, strstr, or WHAT? (I usually end up with preg_match since I know perl regular expressions reasonably well.) But I appreciated php.net/function pages very much. The explanations make sense, there are examples, the lists of related functions often lead me to stuff I want to know, and the comments by other users *completely rock*.

Meanwhile, I read PHP Sucks, But It Doesn’t Matter on codinghorror.com, and the entire crazy comment thread that is half computer science “real programmer” snobs, half even realer programmers rolling their eyes, and half people who know they are the 3rd half and who are Microsoft types (in other words, weird aliens from other universe). All I can say if any of these guys calls me a “script kiddie” I will enjoy kicking their teeth in!

Bike? I don’t need your bike! I can kick your ass with these here training wheels! Snobs.

My thingamajig now reads tags in from de.licio.us, parses them, decides what kind of thing they are, pulls out different kinds of posts, and builds lists of post titles by subject grouping and source in a somewhat complicated way. Then it writes all those lists out to a jillion little static files which will be cached… everything will be so much faster and more polite to the delicious servers this way. Joy!

Related posts:

Translation: Magda Portal

I have not looked further for poems by Magda Portal but she seems well worth a look. If you read the little biography I wrote up below, you will see part of why I get very annoyed at the ways the vanguard, ultraism, modernismo, etc. are described as being somehow essentially masculine!

Note here too that Portal’s early work was published under a pseudonym; this is very common for the women poets I was researching. Because of their gender and the pressures of family, they had to fracture their identity, which fractures their body of work as writers. With time and distance it becomes increasingly more difficult to piece together a picture of their work as a whole and its importance. Despite Portal’s stature as a writer in Latin America for most of the 20th century I have not seen her poetry in recent anthologies in Spanish or English.

Portal’s history of activism and leftist politics is very interesting!

Magda Portal (1901-1989)

Magda Portal, a Peruvian novelist, poet, essayist, and magazine editor, tended to write about feminist themes and activist struggle. She was in socialist literary circles and published in Amauta, along with María Wiesse, Angela Ramos, Alicia del Prado, Catalina Recavarren, and José Carlos Mariátegui, She was forced into exile from Peru in the late 1920s, living in Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Bolivia. The Peruvian government imprisoned her mother, teenage sister, and her infant daughter. She wrote extensively about Flora Tristan, the French feminist and writer who wrote about her visit to Peru during the wars of independence (Bustamente Moscosos). Her early poetry was published under the name Tula Sovaina (Reedy 490).

María Monvel describes Portal’s poetry with suspicion, mentioning “unánimismo,” a vanguardist and surrealist literary movement which arose from the French and Latin American Symbolists. Unánimismo is also the title of a book by early 20th century Cuban writer María Buceta Villar. Monvel’s acerbic judgement on Portal is as follows:

Del mismo tipo que Blanca Luz Brum, estas dos poetisas ofrecen pocas diferencias. Abanderas al ultraismo desde su nacimiento, se han hecho notables allí por sus versos buenos o malos. Respetuosos del juego unánime a que se ha entregado la gente de letras, temeríamos caer en error al juzgarlas sin comprenderlas. Preferimos, luego de atacarlas y darles aquí sitio, entregarlas al juicio de sus semejantes. (175)

Of the same brand as Blanca Luz Brum, these two poets offer few differences. Standard-bearers for Ultraism since their birth, they have gained fame through their verses, good or bad. Highly respectable as it is–this “unánime” game which people of letters have taken up–we fear falling in error to judge them without understanding them. We prefer, after contradicting them and giving them space, to deliver them to the judgement of the like-minded.

Magda Portal’s early works include Ánima absorta (1923), El desfile de miradas (1923), Vidrios de amor (1926), El derecho de matar (1926), Varios poemas a la misma distancia (1927), Constancia del Ser (1928), Una esperanza y el mar (1927), América Latina contra el Imperialismo (1931), and Hacia la mujer nueva (1933).

“Liberación” could be written in response to (or could be an inspiration for) José Carlos Mariátegui’s assertion that women poets are held back from true greatness by sexual and poetic inhibition. Vicky Unruh describes Portal as an important vanguardist critic who helped define the movement with her position papers in Amauta, and points out the irony that her reactions against male-dominated modernismo’s “rendition of women as static embodiments of aesthetic creeds” was then metamorphosed by Mariátegui into the new muse of Peruvian literary culture, as a natural and biological force of womanhood who wrote without artifice (Unruh, Performing 177).

Liberación  (from “Los poemas torturados”)


Un día seré libre, aún más libre que el viento,
será claro mi canto de audaz liberación
y hasta me habré librado de este remordimiento
secreto que me hunde su astilla al corazón.
Un día seré libre con los brazos abiertos,
con los ojos abiertos y limpios frente al sol,
el Miedo y el Recuerdo no estarán encubiertos
y agazapados para desgarrarme mejor.
Un día seré libre . . . Seré libre presiento,
con una gran sonrisa a flor de corazón,
con una gran sonrisa como no tengo hoy.
Y ya no habrá la sombra de mi remordimiento,
el cobarde silencio que merma mi Emoción.
Un día habré logrado la verdad de mi Yo!

Liberation


One day I'll be free, even freer than the wind;
my verse will be bright with daredevil liberation
after I've freed myself from this secret shame
that plunges its sharp splinter into my heart.
One day I'll be free with my arms open wide,
with my eyes open and unshielded before the sun,
Fear and Memory won't be hiding
crouched in ambush, the better to rip me apart.
One day I'll be free . . . I'll be free, I know it,
with a huge smile that flowers from the heart,
with a huge smile that I don't have today.
And then I won't have the ghost of my shame,
the coward silence that tamps down my Emotion.
Someday I'll have achieved the truth of my Self!
Related posts:

White collar crime going unpunished is disgusting

My sister Minnie, like so many other moms of young children, was looking for a social group for new moms. She left her Silicon Valley web developer job of 8 years to stay at home with her baby, and could not afford to pay for any extra child care. She found out about Blue Sky Family Club from an advertising flyer at the Emeryville Market in the San Francisco East Bay, announcing a new family club.

When she went to check it out with her free visit coupon from the flyer, her baby had a great time. Blue Sky was an upscale cafe, with coffee, beer, and wine, and a big play area with a kids’ and babies gym and great toys. “It was a large open space with natural light. They had a living room area with couches, an art area, a play house area, rock climbing wall, and gym, alongside the cafe.” Sounds great, doesn’t it? Minnie made the decision to pay the $170 fee for a 14 month unlimited membership.

One month later, Minnie got an email. The club would be shutting down. Membership fees would not be returned.

When Minnie first told me this story I assumed it was a sad tale of some half-assed Oakland hippies trying to create a co-operative. However, a little research uncovered a completely different story.

Blue Sky is the brainchild of Sheryl O’Loughlin, a marketing executive and former CEO. She is a high powered executive type who has now defrauded an unknown number of East Bay moms of their money. This is a person who has made a profit and a successful career from marketing to women and specifically to mothers. Apparently she and her husband Patrick are very concerned with “saving the planet” and making mindful decisions about buying organic produce. At the same time as they screw the “little people” out of their hard earned cash. What a great business plan!

Everyday I make my daily decisions mindfully – with an awareness of their potential impact on the environment. Whether it’s supporting my local farmers market and buying local, organic food for my family or working with my colleagues to source a new organic ingredient; I know that every decision matters. Each choice I make is a moment of reflection and an opportunity to lessen my impact on the environment. Through consistent, thoughtful and sustainable decisions, we are collectively changing the world.

Nice.

The O’Loughlins announced the closure of their business, but apparently have not filed for bankruptcy.

In June 2007, bizjournals.com reported on the O’Loughlins’ plan for Blue Sky to become a local, then a national chain:

It will cost $3 million to open the first club. In addition to investing $100,000 of their own funds, the couple has managed to raise about $300,000 from private individuals in the last three months and they are continuing to look to angel investors and potential restaurant partners for backing. They expect roughly $1 million in leasing and tenant improvement funds from their future landlord. Their goal is to open four additional locations in five years.

Sounds like their venture capital money ran out. I can sympathize with an idealistic business plan and the financial turmoil that comes when an ambitious business plan fails. However, of all the creditors resulting from business failure, the *club’s individual members*, and their target market, should be paid back.

How many members were part of Blue Sky Family Club? I can’t imagine that membership was more than a few hundred. Say it was 300 members paying around 170 each – that’s about $50,000, probably less if you prorate the months of membership that passed for members who joined at different times. Let’s call it 35K. Do we seriously believe that Blue Sky’s founders don’t have that 35K? Why don’t they put their money where their business plan was?

Sheryl O’Loughlin should make the ethical business decision, sell some of her stock or put a second mortage on her house and pay back her investors. She has committed fraud and theft plain and simple. It is the kind of scam that upper class people get away with all the time. And they shouldn’t. Instead they go from board of directors to board of directors, scamming and keeping right on with their ski vacations. While someone who shoplifts a block of cheese goes right to jail and gets their life fucked up even more than poverty already has done. It’s disgusting.

“Doing a startup like this takes a tremendous amount of patience,” she says. “As a business person used to having things happen very fast, it’s like, take a breath, you’re going to get a million nos. You just have to keep plugging and believe in your ideas.”

This is a professional who wants to continue working in parenting-related products and marketing. She is now on the Board of Directors of a eco-food business called Nest Naturals. O’Loughlin’s bad business ethics should be exposed. Why would parents, her target market, trust her business sense after this spectacular failure of capital and basic decency? Who folds a business that has hundreds of members — members who in effect are micro-investors — and doesn’t even bother to declare bankruptcy? There are laws to protect creditors; in this case, a class-action lawsuit seems quite possible.

Blue Sky and other businesses who serve moms of young children should sit up and pay attention – and should not alienate their client base. Studies show that women pay more attention to the advice and information they get from their friends, whether online or off, than they do to corporate marketing or even other media channels. Moms talk, and moms listen to other moms. I would advise the (former) Blue Sky operators Sheryl O’Loughlin and Patrick O’Loughlin that paying back their customers’ membership fees is more than just ethical. It’s good business sense.

Related posts: