Monthly Archives: September 2007

Forty-three percent



The top 10 books of 2006 have been announced; and “And tango makes three” tops the list. If you haven’t read it, it is extremely cute. If you are having a baby soon (and I know you to the extent that I might send you a gift), you may be getting this as your gift, so watch out. So after looking at the list, reading this article and thinking about the fact that banned book week starts today, I thought it would be good to see how many of the 100 most challenged books of 1990-2000 I had read. Below you will find the list. Books in bold are ones I remember having read. Books in bold italics are ones that I remember as being life altering, one of my favorites, or having a huge impact. Overall, I would say that many of the best books I have ever read are on this list. Many other favorites can be found on other banned lists.

Finally, if you are looking for a book to read, let me suggest any of the following:

The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000

  1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
  2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
  3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
  8. Forever by Judy Blume
  9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
  12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
  17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
  18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  19. Sex by Madonna
  20. Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
  21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
  27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
  28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
  29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
  30. The Goats by Brock Cole
  31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
  32. Blubber by Judy Blume
  33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
  34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
  35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
  36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
  37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
  41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
  45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
  46. Deenie by Judy Blume
  47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
  49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
  50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
  51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
  54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
  55. Cujo by Stephen King
  56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
  58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
  60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  61. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
  62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
  64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
  65. Fade by Robert Cormier
  66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
  67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
  68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
  69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  71. Native Son by Richard Wright
  72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
  73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
  74. Jack by A.M. Homes
  75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
  76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
  77. Carrie by Stephen King
  78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
  79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
  80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
  81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
  82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
  83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
  87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
  88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
  89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
  90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
  91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
  93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
  94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
  95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
  98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
  100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Synthesized info on child trafficking in Chile


The other day I was wondering around the web, as I am apt to do, and I found a document (which I will link to as  soon as I find the website it came from) that helps to give an overview of children and trafficking in Chile.  One of the nice things about this document, is that it cites where all the numbers come from thus making it feel more valid. I thought I would share some of the relevant findings:

Total population    15,988,000         Population Reference Bureau 2004

Child population      4,156,880          Population Reference Bureau 2004

Child labor:  In 2000, less than 1% of children age 10 to 14 we working. Children do work in the following sectors: agriculture, fishing, ranching, shepherding, meat and shellfish processing, bagging in grocery stores, domestic service and street sales.     US Dept. of Labor 2003 Findings on the worst forms of child labour

Children out of school: In 2001, 195,600 primary school aged children between the ages of 6-11 were out of school.     UNESCO’s EFA Global Monitoring Report 2005

Child Slavery: No confirmed reports.

Child Trafficking: Chile is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for both laboral and sexual exploitation.  Traffickers are know to contact victims and their families directly or through advertisements offering jobs as domestic help, model, or product promoters.    US Dept of State TIP 2005

Child prostitution and pornography: A 2003 SENAME study found at least 3,700 children were victims of commercial sexual exploitation.    US Dept of State TIP 2005      More can be found on that in my piece here. Also, in 1998 “Operation Cathedral” exposed a link between Chilean pedophile network and the international pornography trade. This include 19 other countries as well. There are reports of children as young as 7 expoited through prostitution and sex tourism in Chile’s 4 largest cities. In 2003 a US man was arrested in the Santiago airport for possessing child pornography.  Although the national authorities deny it, ECPAT claims that Chile is a sex tourism destination   Ecpat CSEC database

Children used in crime: Children are involved in sale of drugs and prostitution.     US Dept of Labor’s 2003 Findings on the worst forms of child labor.

Child soldiers: Under 18s could be recruited with their parents’ consent. No numbers are available.      CSUCS, Global Report on Child Soldiers, 2004

Class consciousness


Valparaiso, originally uploaded by coming2cambodia.

I was having lunch the other day at a friend’s house. His parents were asking me what I think of Valapaiso and Viña del Mar. I was talking about how I like each in its own way. They were slightly surprised, assuming that as an American I would clearly have a preference for the more upscale, planned city of Viña del Mar. They liked Viña better.

They also talked about something I hadn’t really thought much about; they prosed that Valparaiso becoming a World Heritage Site is a bad thing. They look at is as glorifying poverty; failing to see the misery people live in and rather romanticize their lives, their housing, and their squaller. Furthermore, they see it as a way to not have to confront the poverty or work to change the lives of those in this country with the least. I am not sure that I totally area, but I do see their point.

Another disagreement in the conversation arose when I was talking about reasons I like Cerro Polanco. One of the reasons is the close quarters that the different social classes live in (in harmony) on the hill. Next to my house, which people refer to as the castle, you can find people squatting in shanty houses, up the road you can find almost every degree in between. Again, said friends did not like this– they are about as far left as you can get and anti-social classes as a concept.

However, here, I stick by my point. Living together, the people come to a better understanding of the other. I come from an area within the US (like most areas within the US) that is extremely segregated by both class and race. I believe that it is easy for a child to grow up in their communities and never befriend someone of a different social status; in some cases, even see them up close. This distance gives weight, even validity, to stereotypes and prejudices.

The other day Mombian pointed out that people who know 2 or more LGBT individuals are more likely to vote in favor of protections for LGBT people regardless of their (the voter’s)  political affiliation. I assume that something similar must be true when talking about classes. An upper or middle class person who has made friends with or knows someone who has demonstrated how hard it is to survive on minimum wage, is probably more likely to vote for an increase in minimum wage. Granted, this is just my extrapolation of how life should work, who knows if it is true.

Finally, I feel I need to put a plug in for a book that I really enjoyed Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. If you haven’t thought about minimum wage or class issues in America, it really is a good read. Not to mention it is entertaining.

Google searches


Yep, its that time again, time for another post on how people find this blog. Why? Well, because people search for some crazy stuff; it makes me giggle (or be appalled). Thought I would share the feelings. In the last 7 days, these are 30 of the search engine results that brought people to Clare Says:

  1. “I sold my mother” – Shame on you!
  2. “japanese inside outside front” – Huh?
  3. “baby bumblebee food” – Don’t they suck juice out of flowers? (most unscientific answer ever—if this is for a science report, do not use my knowledge)
  4. “brain flower” – Okay, I understand how you got here. I call it that too. I have a link to a picture of one here.
  5. “blogs on prostitution” – I am going to give this person the benefit of the doubt and assume hope
  6. “have sex with young prostitute” – I am less inclined to give this person the benefit of the doubt!
  7. “does Canada have sex traficing?” -Yes. Want more info, ask K.
  8. “how to write a letter on outside” – I have no idea. Also, reading my blog probably won’t help.
  9. “to be inside is to be underneath” – Again, really not sure what you are looking for.
  10. “squished bee picture” – Nope. Just fried bees.
  11. “Donna Nicely” – Great commenter. But I can’t help you find her. Also, Donna, someone is googling you.
  12. “download Taboo III” – I thought that was a boardgame.
  13. “silly internet songs” – Sorry. There is a rap about human trafficking.
  14. “rules of beeping horn” – Mine were just made up rules. Sorry.
  15. “McCotter moldova -estonia 457″ – No idea.
  16. “st. louis mountains and oceans” – Sorry to disappoint. I doubt you will find anything about this on my blog or anyone else’s. I lived in St. Louis during grad school and can safely tell you that it has no ocean or mountain.
  17. “dealing with brothels” – As in as a customer? As a law enforcement agency? As a trafficked individual?
  18. “lesbian sex traficking outside of the U.S.A.” – Not sure I am aware of lesbians being specifically targeted within the USA; although there is a higher rate of runaways among LGBT youth putting them in an at-risk group. Did you know that statistically within 72 hours of being on the street a child will be approached by either a john (customer) or a pimp? Scary stuff.
  19. “adopting trafficked children” – I know that several centers in Cambodia did have adoption programs and trafficked children; that said, they were never advertised that way.
  20. “MOLDOVA SEX” – I am assuming it is like sex any where else in the world.
  21. “finding prostitutes, Binghamton” – Never been to Binghamton and I really don’t think I would want to help you anyway. I have a feeling you are one of those people who was awfully disappointed by my musings.
  22. “sex tours southeast asia” – SHAME ON YOU!
  23. “ive found a little baby bumble bee” – So many people find this blog while searching for the lyrics to that song. I don’t have them here. But, try this place. In fact, if you google the song, I am the first site that pops up.
  24. “picture of potty training outside” – Nope. And I don’t even really know what you mean by outside. Do you mean like when you are camping?
  25. “pronouncing “jena” Louisiana” – Sorry.
  26. “negro aranguiz” – Hey! I know this guy. Sadly, he doesn’t read my blog.
  27. “drug sihanokville” – Sorry to disappoint. To my knowledge, its a place, not a drug. But, if you do go, stay at Two Fish.
  28. “purchase a sex traffic woman” – Why? To save them? Nicholas D.Kristof of the New York Times did.
  29. “Why did Java come in Cambodia?” – Not sure, but you can ask the owner if you are there. She is often in the restaurant, short, light brownish, curlyish hair. Also, who cares why? The food is fabulous!
  30. “women breastfeeding puppies videos” – This one has haunted me since back in the days of Coming2Cambodia. I am still not sure what they are looking for. I am sure it is not here. And yet, not a day goes by that someone doesn’t visit my site looking for something along these lines.

It all comes in waves


There was a period after college, I was living in Moldova, that I felt like everyone around me was having babies and getting married. I missed those occasions, because I was poor and in Moldova.Then we had a lull.

Apparently the next wave has hit. I am currently in Chile with a ten month contract, this is what I know is happening so far:


  • Mari got married in Germany (Sadly, I missed the wedding as it was my first month on the job). Mari is a friend from Georgetown who was an exchange student from Japan. She me her current husband, a German, while studying in Bosnia. Talk about international!
  • J eloped in Malta (I found out after the fact (via someone elses blog and then facebook and then an email), but I am sure I was not half as annoyed as his mother was)
  • Rick is getting married on Oct 5th in Lincoln Nebraska. (I am not going to be able to attend this wedding either). Rick was a friend from grad school.
    • Arlette is getting married in November (I will be attending this wedding as she is a friend from here in Viña del Mar and the wedding is just down the block). Arlette is currently a psychologist with the state child protection agency; we took an anthropology elective together in college.
    • L is getting married in December (civil ceremony) and probable in February (religious ceremony and big party). She is my host sister who I have known for 11 years. I have never seen her so happy. Besides getting married, she is two weeks away from graduating from medical school.
    • Mary is getting married in April in Pheonix, AZ. I am not only planning on attending this wedding, but she just asked me to be a bridesmaid! I can’t even start to explain how much I love her and her fiancé. Great people! Ironically, I also know Mer from Chile. She was in the same exchange program as I in 2000 and I continue to have lunch with her old host family every Sunday.

    Baptisms and Babies:

    • Three of my classmates from high school in Chile had babies within 2 months of one another at the beginning of this year; another three friends from home had kids (Congrats to Carla, Pancho, Yoselyn, Lakshmi, Sarah, and Habiba!!!)
    • Agustin, Carla’s kid, will be baptized and I will officially be named Godmother at a date to be announced but before I leave this country.
    • Pancho’s kid Pancho will also be being baptized soon.
    • Erin, another high school exchange student to Chile, should be having her little one any day now.
    • N, another recent graduate of GWB, is about several months out from having her little girl.

    and these are just the babies I know of of and can think of off the top of my head.

    Granted, these are not planned, and I think I have already had enough of them for the year. So, please—no more!

    • Tata, Carla’s grandfather passed away and last week I attended the funeral. He was ill, had lost his wife 9 months earlier, and was in pain. It was for the best. We knew it was coming. It was sad nonetheless.

    Human trafficking in the news


    Human Trafficking Evokes Outrage, Little Evidence

    U.S. Estimates Thousands of Victims, But Efforts to Find Them Fall Short

    By Jerry Markon

    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, September 23, 2007; Page A01

    Someone at the embassy pointed out this front page Washington Post article yesterday.  In many ways I think it is very interesting– and points to some of the problems one finds in research with clandestine issues.  I also thought it was interesting that  Ronald Weitzer was their “expert on sex trafficking”.  Some readers of this blog may remember that he was in fact part of the discussion on prostitution a little while back; and that we do not necessarily see eye to eye.

    Finally, I was thinking about numbers.  Specifically, I was thinking about my past clients– people who were trafficked to the United States and exploited for months in horrendous and dangerous conditions. Clients who may or may not receive T-visas because of how hard they are to procure.  Aside from the fact that my clients, whom I have no doubt were victims of trafficking, were not counted– I also have to think of the others.  Under the TVPA, if a person chooses to not cooperate in the prosecution, they can be sent home.  For every client that I worked with, 3 others had choosen to go back to their country and not look for protection under the TVPA.  Why?  They had many reasons: some longed to be with their families and go home, some feared for their families if they were to try and press charges, some simply no longer had faith that any system would honestly protect them.  They went home. They were never counted.

    I am not trying to argue that human trafficking is rampant in the states or even arguing with the article; however, I do read it with different eyes because of my experiences.

    Once upon a time I was a linguist


    Once upon a time, I went to college and studied languages and language acquisition.  The truth is– they both continue to be things that I love to read and learn about. It fascinates me the way that language shapes the way we think.  For example, in Japanese you can’t just count to ten. When you refer to a number, it has a counter attached that tells you what you are talking about.  So, the one in one apple is different from the one in one sheet of paper or one person or one year.

    The thing with linguistics and languages, is that while being a great thing to study, they never inspired me to really follow a job path. Hence, I ended up going to grad school for social work– a field that I love to work in. In grad school, some of my favorite classes were about white privilege, isms, and creating meaningful communication. For me there was a great synergy about how we use language and how we create the world.  For example, how racism implicit in language marginalizes individuals while seemingly invisible to those in the majority grouping (not necessarily largest numbers, but those who are portrayed by society as status quo).

    I read a blog post today (granted I am behind on my reading) that remind me of just this. 4+4=10 talked about her experience leaving a comment on another’s blog about the non-PCness of the term “flesh” colored. I will let you read what happened there after.  The post made me think for a couple of reasons.  First of all, about all the times that I hear something that I recognize as exclusionary language and don’t say anything.  Silence, after all, is simpler in the short term but damaging in the longterm. Second, how easy it is to blow something off as being overly PC and refusing to look at the possibility that it could be negative.  Third, the mob mentality that can happen in internet blogging. Finally— I thought of linking to the post and almost didn’t.  After all, almost a week has passed.  However, to me, I think there was something important to be said. And perhaps, it is better late than never.



    I am not a huge caffeine person.  I don’t drink soda.  I have coffee, but I am not fanatical about it.  I do like chocolate, but that is a very low concentration.

    Coffee is something I like.  Usually, I like it with milk, or caramel, hazelnut flavored, or fancy.  That said, I don’t necessarily drink it every day.  Here in Chile, I am always disappointed that people mostly serve or have in their houses Nescafe.  Somehow dissolved powder in hot water just doesn’t seem like coffee to me– even if it tastes like not great coffee.  I have, however, learned to love it because you can make it with milk instead of water.  This way, it is like chocolate flavored hot cocoa.

    Only having access to Nescafe in milk in the castle, I drink it daily and don’t complain.  Still, I was shocked the other day when I had real drip coffee how much it affected me.  To add insult to injury, today I learned that it is not even regular Nescafe I am drinking in the castle– it is decaf! I can’t imagine that regular Nescafe actually has much caffeine… but this certainly has less.  I am not sure I can even call it coffee anymore

    Yet another thing I blame my mother for


    Boxes, originally uploaded by coming2cambodia.

    I have a small obsession with markets—really markets of any type: farmers’ markets, starving artist festivals, street fairs. I like the idea of people coming together in an open space and selling stuff; even when it is junk, I like to peruse. Growing up, my mother would regularly take me to the farmers’ market in Milwaukee. It was there that I discovered the brain flower. Both my parents would bring me to starving artist festivals throughout the state. Sometimes, I remember being bored. Other times I would find some piece that I loved and they would get it for me. Many of these pieces remain my favorites today; some even came to Chile and are hanging in my room.

    In Chile, this fascination can take on a whole new meaning because there are markets at every turn of the corner. On Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday, on Avenida Argentina, about 2 blocks from my house in Valpo, there is a farmers market. I like to go and watch the sellers, watch the interactions, and monitor the fluctuations in prices. Usually, I come home with artichokes. Next to the farmers’ market, there are people selling goods off of plastic sheets on the ground. There is nothing I would really buy there—old children’s tennis shoes, stained jackets, used irons and ironing boards, and yet I love to weave my way through it.

    Further away, in one of the plazas, there is a bazaar with old books and antiques. Most of the stuff is pretty useless, however, if you take the time to dig your way through—there are some amazing treasures. Also, the men (usually men at this one) who work there will sometimes take the time to tell you about their grandfather who built the clock or their memories of the doll from their childhood.

    In terms of arts stuff—my favorite place is Artesenal Santa Lucia in Santiago. It is not a starving artist festival, like the ones my mother would take me to growing up in the Wisconsin, but rather it is a place where year round different artsy goods are sold—much of it is very commercial in nature and most of the stalls are not actually filled with the actual artisans. Still, it has its enchantment. Being that in 2000 I lived a few blocks away, I have spent many hours people watching there and examining all the stalls. It is interesting to watch how overtime things morph. For example, during the month of September, much more Chile paraphernalia and traditional clothing appears. While the copper items and lapis lazuli jewelry never go out of style, other styles such as glass work, wood carvings, and homemade jams fluctuate.

    One of the things I love about markets is that after a while you learn who to go to; who has the best price on good corn in the West Alice Market of my youth; who has the best price on glass works in Santa Lucia, who has the tastiest churipan on Avenida Argentina. And, if like me, you go enough and are talkative enough, these people start to know you as well.

    Moldova, despite having a dearth of good markets, did have some farmers’ markets. Two years after I left my village, the lady who sold onions asked a new volunteer who I was doing. Here in Chile, about 2 years ago I found a woman who sold glass pieces: earrings, plates, boxes. I really liked her stuff (and it was actually made within the family). I bought a piece or two and she commented how I looked like her niece. A couple months later I was back and bought presents to bring home to the states, again she commented that I looked like her niece. This time we talked a bit. That was August of 2006. Two weeks ago I returned and bought the above boxes. I actually went specifically looking for her stall, which is sometimes hard to find. (The other stall that sells similar stuff is much more expensive although has a slightly better selection). After picking out my new jewelry boxes, I went to pay. She remembered me and commented that I hadn’t come in for quite a while—astute observation, I have been out of the country for 1 year. Still, it was kind of nice. I think I will go back and get a box for my housemates birthday at the end