I trust everyone had some kind of Easter break. My partner Lin and I went to our bush loveshack - about 12 hours from Melbourne, in the forlorn jungles of New South Wales, creek water, no electricity, no phones and no computers. Just spiders, bugs, snakes, birds, goannas, possums and kangaroos. We tell everyone that we go there for the inconveniences. (I'm still itching as I type.) But it's worth it for the space and splendour of the natural world. Sometimes you forget the wilderness is out there until you immerse yourself in it. A few of our friends happened to be in the vicinity and we had one night with a big bonfire and family hootenanny. (Their two 10 year old girls sang two Kasey Chambers songs in unison word-perfect. Now I know why Kasey sings like that.) You think that because we were in the middle of nowhere that the eating would have been slim but in fact we ate like gourmets. We had gin and tonics with ice (from mate Richard's gas-powered fridge), leg of lamb baked in the camp oven, and one night Lin made a brilliant butternut squash with walnut sofritto cooked in the coals. (Recipe below.) The fresh walnuts were picked up off the ground from a nearby tree! But the Easter Bunny finally took his ball and went home so now it's back to work. By the way:
Ease Your Conscience About Chocolate
Sabina Casagrande, DW-WORLD.DE
Should you be feeling pangs of guilt as you lusciously bite off the ears of your chocolate Easter bunnies, don't worry! You actually are doing something good for your health. Easter is here and one of the world's most widespread passions is an integral part of it: chocolate! For many chocolate lovers, there is no match for that happy feeling following the consumption of this sweet. Chocolate's uplifting quality is a result of a substance it releases in the brain: serotonin, which can heighten the senses and brighten our moods. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, the chemical involved in the transmission of nerve impulses between nerve cells. Rüdiger Lobitz, a nutritionist at the non-profit consumer protection organization "aid infodienst" in Bonn, explained that in our brains, serotonin is responsible for making us feel good. "If we have a serotonin deficiency, we can get depressed," said Lobitz. article
Latin Lesson I: Proletarii
Those Roman citizens who were too poor to give the State anything by way of taxes, duties of service. The only thing they could give the State was proles - children.
Favourite Reader Comments of the Week
Excuse the pun eh! (an awesome song, though!) Just wanted to tell you how much your clinic/show with the Frankston Guitar Festival inspired me. I'm 15, and I live for music. I'm also a female guitarist which you dont see that often these days. Anyways, back to business, you're playing and especially your song 'GIFT'... was absolutely beautiful. And I loved the songs you wrote for that movie soundtrack, too. You're an awesome harp player- inspired me, so I went and bought a kit with a book and a harp!! I'm quite a peace writer when it comes to songs, I love to play acoustic stuff. Thanks so much, again, its really inspired me to keep rocking. Peace. Aimee :)
I'd like to put your video of 'GIFT' (from one Iraqi Child) in the new video section I'm preparing. It's very beautiful and touching... Onwards and Upwards, Char ~*
(Note: See Char~*'s great website: THE HIPPIE MUSEUM
and also the account of my Legendary 70s Acid Trip Freakout that she's posted there.
And for those of you who missed it last week, here is a videoclip of an exciting live performance of GIFT (one Iraqi child).
The Reduced Shakespeare Company Radio Show Volume 1 CD, Hamlet
17:52 dialog goes "What'sa matter for you? Why you looka so sad?" Eric Houg
(Note: Eric, " To Shaddap or not to Shaddap, --
(what was thy question, anon?):--
Whether 'tis nobler in one's Face to suffer
The lips and tongues of outrageous Australian Idols
Or to take urination against this sea of musical midgets,
And by gushing excretions, thus extinguish them?" -- Guiseppi and Juliet (III, i, 56-61)
Latin Lesson II: Vestal Virgins
Vesta was a very old and numinous Roman goddess having no mythology and no image. She was the hearth, the centre of family life, and Roman society was cemented in the family. Her official public cult was personally supervised by the Pontiflex Maximus but she was so important that she had her own pontifical college, the six Vestal Virgins. The Vestal Virgin was inducted at about seven or eight years of age, took vows of complete chastity and served for thirty years, after which she was released from her vows and sent back in to the general community still of an age to bear children. Few retired Vestal Virgins ever did marry; it was thought unlucky to do so. The chastity of the Vestal Virgins was Rome's pubic luck; a chaste college was favoured by Fortune.
News Item of the Week - Stop Presses!
" ... Two Jordanian UN peacekeepers were sent home after injuring themselves having sex with goats.... "The Herald Sun
(Note: The Goat Position is tricky. They should have consulted a Sicilian first.)
X-celling Over Men
Research published last week in the journal
Nature reveals that women are genetically more complex than scientists
ever imagined, while men remain the simple creatures they appear.
Women are not only more different from men than we knew. Women are more different from one another than we knew - creatures of "infinite variety," as Shakespeare wrote.
"...Men only have 45 chromosomes to . . . work with because [the] 46th is the pathetic Y that has only a few genes which operate below the waist and above the knees," Willard observed. "In contrast, we now know that women have the full 46 chromosomes that they're getting work from and the 46th is a second X that is working at levels greater than we knew." article
(thanks to Maireid Sullivan)
Latin Lesson III: Aether
The part of the upper atmosphere permeated by godly forces, or the air immediately around a god. It also meant the sky, particularly the blue sky of daylight.
THE LIVING WILL
The Terri Schiavo tragedy this past week has magnified the need for people to leave more precise instructions with their Wills. A living will is a simple legal document (also known as the Advance Health Care Directive) that describes, in clear detail, just what you want done -- or not done -- with your body should you for some tragic or otherwise unforeseeable reason become unable to speak or eat or think or move or function for yourself. It is also used for organ donations and it is designed to be completed without the need for a lawyer.
Here is a SITE
with more information for the USA
For more information in Australia: SITE
Latin Lesson IV: Mormolyce
A nursery bogey.
Rock Dust Grows Extra-Big Vegetables (and Might Save Us from Global Warming)
by Paul Kelbie, Scotland Correspondent
For years scientists have been warning of an apocalyptic future facing the world. With the prospect of an earth made infertile from over-production and mass reliance on chemicals, coupled with an atmosphere polluted by greenhouse gases there seems little to celebrate. But belief is growing that an answer to some of the earth's problems are not only at hand, but under our feet.
Specialists have just met in Perth to discuss the secrets of rock dust, a quarrying by-product that is at the heart of government-sponsored scientific trials and which, it is claimed, could revitalise barren soil and reverse climate change.
The recognition of the healing powers of rock dust comes after a 20-year campaign by two former schoolteachers, Cameron and Moira Thomson. They have been battling to prove that rock dust can replace the minerals that have been lost to the earth over the past 10,000 years and, as a result, rejuvenate the land and halt climate change.
To prove their point, the couple have converted six acres of open, infertile land in the Grampian foothills near Pitlochry into a modern Eden. Using little more than rock dust mixed with compost, they have created rich, deep soils capable of producing cabbages the size of footballs, onions bigger than coconuts and gooseberries as big as plums. article
Latin Lesson V: Sesquiculus
Typical cognomen added to one's name to denote some personality trait. This cognomen means: more than an asshole, an asshole and a half.
Ebay Strikes Again!
Legendary stripper Tawny Peaks has just sold the implants from her 69HH breasts on ebay for $16,766. Tawny became infamous in 1998 when a patron at the Diamond Dolls nightclub, Clearwater, Florida, sued her, claiming he suffered a whiplash injury when she swung her breasts into his face. He said they were "like two cement blocks." The case went to arbitration on The People's Court TV show and the judge, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, ordered a female bailiff to examine Peaks in private, where Tawny's breasts were found to be "soft". Koch ruled they were not dangerous and refused to award damages. Peaks said she has since become "kind of a recluse." SITE
(FYI: Goldenpalace Casino, who bought the implants, last year paid $28,000 for a 10 year old grilled cheese sandwich, which looked like the Virgin Mary.)
Latin Lesson VI: Corona Civica
Rome's second highest military decoration. A crown or chaplet made of oak leaves, it was awarded to a man who had saved the lives of fellow soldiers or held the ground on which he did this for the remainder of the battle.
1. "Works well when under constant supervision
and cornered like a rat in a trap."
2. "He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle."
3. "He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them."
4. "Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all together."
5. "A gross ignoramus...144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus."
6. "He doesn't have ulcers, but he's a carrier."!
7. "When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."
8. "If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he's the other one."
9. "A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on."
10. "Donated his brain to science before he was through using it"
11. "Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train ain't coming."
12. "He's got two brains, one is lost and the other is out looking for it."
13. "If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you'd get change."
14. "If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean."
15. "One neuron short of a synapse."
(thanks to Stephen Ross)
Latin Lesson VII: Licker-fish
A freshwater bass of the Tiber River. The creature was to be found only between the Wooden Bridge and the Pons Aemilius, where it lurked around the outflows of the great sewers and fed upon what they disgorged. Apparently it was so well fed that it was notoriously hard to catch. This may have been why it was so prized as a delicacy by Rome's Epicureans.
Three notes walk into a bar, a C, an E-flat
and a G.
The bartender looks up and says he doesn't serve minors.
So the E-flat leaves and the C and G have a fifth between them. (boom boom.)
(thanks to Jim Testa)
Dragons Tea Amateur
(I don't know exactly what is going on in this little webcam musicvideo but this guy is my vote for World Idol.)
Este chaval cantando la famosa cancion delante de la webcam. Fantastico. Clip
Latin Lesson VIII: Tacet Inepte!
Shaddap You Face. Literally: shut up, you fool! If any of you latin scholars want to have a shot at translating the whole chorus to my song into Latin, send it to me and I'll learn it. (All Latin references taken from the Glossary of 'Caesar's Women' by Colleen McCullough, Arrow Books, 1996.)
WASHINGTON An unusually contrite President George W. Bush apologized to the American people during his weekly radio address yesterday for ignoring renegade chess champion Bobby Fischer and "the threat he poses to the future of chess in our country." The president, whose job approval rating plunged to an all-time low of 45 percent in a poll released on Friday, said he deserved the low rating for disappointing "decent, god-fearing American chess players."
"I accept responsibility for squandering some of my political capital on other people's trivial agendas while an avowed enemy of American chess was making terroristic threats against the game and the people who play it in this country. I will not allow such conduct to go unchecked. Mr. Fischer will be made to answer for his remarks."
Bush also announced that unless "the rogue state of Iceland" hands Fischer over to American authorities "sooner rather than later," it risks being added to the axis of evil.
Ironically, Bobby Fischer was once a chess superstar in the United States, capable of drawing hundreds of people to a match. He fell from grace when he played former Russian chess champion Boris Spassky in the former Yugoslavia in 1992. The match violated U.N. sanctions that prohibited board games in Yugoslavia at the time. Therefore, the U.S. State Department issued a warrant for Fischer's arrest.
Fischer, who won the unsanctioned match and $3.35 million, has been a fugitive from justice and the IRS ever since, hiding in a series of underground chess cells around the world. Periodically he released statements in which he threatened to train a "worldwide army of chess masters who would rise up to destroy America's flabby, self-indulgent chess players."
Fischer's odyssey ended last summer when he
showed up in a Japanese airport disguised as Rip Van Winkle. He
was jailed after he had attempted to use a revoked U.S. passport
to travel to Afghanistan. Washington requested that Fischer be
deported to America to stand trial. While Japan was mulling over
that request, Iceland stepped in and granted Fischer "full
citizenship with all the rights and privileges that entails, including
a complete catalog of Bjork CDs." article
(thanks to Frank Dolce)
Quinces with White Heather
Zest of one half lemon, and the juice
1/2 cup sugar, or more to taste
Pattison's Lancefield 2004 White Heather Chardonnay
Peel, core and seed the quinces, and cut up into one inch pieces. Place in a bowl of salted water to prevent discolouring. Put drained quinces and just enough white heather chardonnay to cover, in a saucepan. Add sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest, and the juice. Bring to a simmer. Cover, and turn heat to low. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until quinces are soft and wine has reduced to a light syrup. Correct taste with more sugar if needed. Remove from heat and let rest for about 5 minutes covered. Serve warm, or chilled, with yoghurt or ice cream, or with cake.
Lin's Bush Charcoal-Baked Butternut Squash with Walnut Sofritto
1 whole butternut squash
1 cup finely sliced onions
diced green scallions
handful of chopped walnuts
freshly ground black pepper and salt
Method: Make a fire in a pit and let the fire burn down to coals. Cover the pumpkin with the hot coals and cook until tender.
For the sofritto: Fry the onions parsley, fresh herbs, garlic, scallions and walnuts in some olive oil. Add lots of black pepper and salt to taste.
To serve: Break open the pumpkin, remove the blackened bits and the seeds. Toss the pumpkin with the sofritto and serve with butter on top.