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August 26th, 2005

Call Me Macaroni.

'If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them, But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


Dear Folks,

Someone suggested to me last week that in order to write my newsletter, I must have a lot of spare time on my hands. For the two and a half years I have been writing it, I have considered preparing the weekly newsletter an exciting and crucial part of my continuing self-education. I don't watch television news
(if I can help it) - so reading from a lot of diverse source material and compiling this rag is the way I keep myself up to date on what's REALLY going on in the world. That said, it is also important not to denigrate having some time on one's hands. (It's better that than to hear Time's winged chariot at your back hurrying near.) Remember that one of Rome's countless gifts to the world are two forms of art: the famous La Dolce Vita ("The Sweet Life"), but also Il Dolce Far Niente ("Sweet Doing Nothing" or "Sweet Idleness"). The meaning of Il Dolce Far Niente goes far beyond innocently spending time doing absolutely nothing in the most pleasant way, which would lead to the stereotype of portraying Italians as lazy (which we all know is horse ca-ca). As the British Italophile Michael Dibdin puts it, doing nothing alla Romana is not a matter of idleness or indolence. In fact Romans have taken this apparent non-activity to the level of an art form. To a Roman, to see and to be seen, to experience life to the fullest, to love and to be loved, are the very essence of living.



Dear Joe,
Re: Your Last Newsletter
I have to say that in over 10 years online, I have NEVER read anything funnier than the brilliant "Tendjewberrymud" !! Will pinch it for my next [Bumper Bundle], Joe. (Naturally, I will make the necessary attribution.) Kindest, as ever,
Dai Woosnam, UK

(Here's what Dai had to say about: 'Tendjewberrymud' which I received from my brother, Frank, and presented in last week's newsletter, in case anyone missed it:)

" First contribution comes from the always interesting Joe Dolce [Newsletter]. Let me warn you about this following piece now. If you are printing out this [Bumper Bundle] and may perhaps read a few pages each day on the train to work, then make sure that you are in a carriage on your own. Because there is a very real chance you will laugh so uncontrollably as to lose bladder control: indeed you might lose more than your dignity. People in white coats might be called for, and they will cart you off and you will lose your FREEDOM. I actually think that this is the single funniest thing I have EVER read on the internet. I know it is not Politically Correct, but what the heck it is just plain WONDERFUL. Another reason, BTW, for a train compartment on your own, is that you really must take Joe's advice and read the thing OUT LOUD in the phonetic way it is written. It is a masterpiece. I like the story that it was an actual verbatim exchange in a hotel in the Far East. My hunch is though that it smacks of a really creative mind. If so, it is a pity the original writer's name is lost. (I say, give that man the Nobel Prize for Literature!) Anyway, whatever the origins, here it is. Thanks Joe: I laughed so much I thought I was going to die. (I truly understood for the first time why they call such uncontrollable laughter, 'corpsing'!) "

(Note: Dai Woosnam sends out his regular free UK 'Bumper Bundle' e-letter filled with interesting goodies which I always enjoy reading. Drop him an email and ask him to add you to his list at: daigress@hotmail.com

Dear Joe,
As a loyal subject of the Queen, and a devout exponent of our Australian democratic way of life, I urge you to look into your heart and with the love that I'm sure you must feel for our own fine and statesmanlike leader here in Australia, concoct a pet name such as the affectionate and touching name you have given to that great wise man on the other side of the pond, "Sir Lord Generalissimo Life President Royal Lowness Divine Wind His Most Royally Unexcellency George W. Dubya Shrub Bonsai Bug-infested Twig and Weed Patch White-Ant Riddled Wood Pecker Head Bush Junior". (I must confess I copied and pasted that).
Re: the sad speech impediment of the above Poorly Tended Topiary, it must be hard not to make strange squishy noises when you have the nose of an antipodean pretender (albeit fine and statesmanlike) so firmly wedged up your rear nethers. Cheers and thanks, Joe,

(Note: Wendy, I'm open to any creative suggestions from readers as to a proper extended name for our John. Keep those cards and letters coming! Until then, as you know in Australia, honourable abbreviations are placed after eminent individuals names to denote special acknowledgement from the Queen. Many people do not know what these letters stand for so I have given Howard's full title and an explanation of what the honours denote:

Abbreviations -

Full Title -
HRH (Holiday Resale Homes) RT HON (Rt Hon, bro!) SIR PRIME RIB MINISTER JOHN HOWARD, OBE (Out of Body Experience), LB (Lord Bear), OM (Outer Mongolian), MBE (Minority Business Entrepreneur), OG (Order of the Garter), OB i, ONZ (Olives New Zealand), FRS (Fishery Resource Service), KCVO (Knight Commander of the Venereal Orders), QSO (Quacking Soul Orifice), CBE (Central Banking of Egypt), DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise), KBE (Knoxville Builders Exchange), GBE (GameBoy Emulator), ADC (Archive of Diseases in Childhood), KG (Kinky Gymguy).

Hi there Joe,
Re: Little Sledgehammer Gift of God
Grazie bello! AT Last I know my name! I had a laugh and sent it to my papa! baci,
Kavisha www.kavisha.com

(Note: Last week, I sent my friend, singer/songwriter Kavisha Mazzella, some background on the origins of her name, which I hope helps her to understand why she is the way she is! xx Joe)

KAVISHA (real name: PAOLO: Italian form of Paul, meaning 'little')
MAZZELLA - Southern Italian: from a diminutive of Mazza (1. nickname or metonymic occupational name from mazza ' club', 'mace', 'sledge hammer'.  2. nickname for a destructive individual, from a derivative of Italian (am) mazzare 'to kill or destroy' (Latin mactare). -  or alternatively of Mazzeo, a variant of Matteo. (Italian: from the personal name Matteo, derivative of Latin Matthaeus or Matthias (see Matthew - vernacular form of the Greek New Testament name Matthias, Matthaios, which is ultimately from the Hebrew personal name Matityahu 'gift of God'. )

Dear Joe,
I don't know how I got on your mail list but anyhow I did, I noticed your question about Christianity. I think your reading of what Jesus was about is very worldly, there is a grain of truth in what you say but you are missing the point. Jesus does leave a lot of his word open to interpretation because we are all at different levels but he isn't ambivalent about what he is. He is the only religious leader who claims to be the son of God and he says he is the only way. You have to reject him as a nut case or an impostor or accept him as what he says he is. I might sound like some crazy fundamentalist (which I'm not) but don't go taking a worldly view that there is one God but many ways to Him, if Jesus is who he says he is, forget all the rest and if he isn't he is a con man and his words are not worth the paper they are written on. Best regards,
Greg G

(Note: Greg, only a 'grain' of truth? I wonder if even the Holy Lamb could feed the multitudes with that? I'm not suggesting Jesus was a con man - the con men came later.)

Dear Joe,
I don't know how I got put onto your list, but after reading one or two editions I'm hooked. Don't know whether you're a Christian, but I'm printing out your first paragraph [from last week's newsletter] to read at our church next Sunday, where it should go down very well. It echoes some of the ideas we were working on today. [That's the Augustine Congregation of the Uniting Church of Australia [UCA] in Hawthorn, in Melbourne.] I appreciated the way you presented items about US evangelicals who don't support Bush's war in Iraq. I get impatient with some evangelicals, but it's really important to avoid damning anyone on the basis of a label. I admire your ability to keep an open mind.
Virginia B

Hey Joe,
Great Answer, May I quote you from your 'Bible'....that others may create their own, there's little room for loop holes! Best regards,
Kitto, songwriter www.whosjack.com

(Note: Dear Kitto and Holy Flock, here below is a little more reassurance for all of you of the interconnectedness of the universe - )


Science and the Bible: Friends at Last
by Ramsey Ess

As many as nearly half of all of today's scientists and scientologists are practicing Christians. Unfortunately, these two powerful forces have been feuding since the invention of logic in 1941. How is it that these Christian scientists have been able to reconcile their best friend (science) with their copilot (Jesus)? Let's take a look at some examples of science and Christianity working together.

How did Jesus walk on water?
One of Jesus' most well known feats was his walking out to greet his fisherman disciples on top of the water. While modern day floatation devices allow Man to replicate the Lamb of God's great deed, spitefully mocking him, Mother Nature has been vindictively waving her metaphorical middle finger towards the heavens for centuries. The "Jesus lizard" (or "basilisk lizard" for those of non-Christian faith) is able to run at such a speed that the resulting force allows them to stay above water. So, I don't know, maybe Jesus did that. Bible doesn't really say.

How can Jesus love all the little children?
Scientists agree that Jesus suffered from congestive cardiomyopathy which resulted in an enlarged and stretched heart cavity for the Son of Man. The increased heart space that would develop as a result of this affliction allowed Jesus to love a larger number of little children than what would ordinarily be possible, more specifically, all.

How did Jesus feed the five thousand with only five loaves of bread and two fish?
When Jesus had to feed his many followers with just a few pieces of food, math, the Christian-friendly division of science, came to the rescue as it often does. By dividing the meager food supplies into five thousand, along with the "science" of stunning dish presentation and good manners, Jesus was able to turn a planning disaster into a meal of rich, concentrated flavor that left everyone hungry for more. Bam!

Why was Jesus so great?
Scholars point to passages in the Book of Revelations in which it is revealed that much of Jesus' greatness was due to His extensive knowledge of jazz and jazz-fusion as well as his reputation for brushing after every meal, even after eating out at a high-class restaurant. I personally think they're talking about somebody else, but keep in mind that this is from Revelations and that stuff's crazy.


Terminator Haiku

One Terminator
Is not nearly as good as
Two Terminators


You Mowed Down His Cross
(Open Letter to Larry Northern who attached chains and a pipe to his truck and ran over about 100 of the crosses at Camp Casey that serve as a memorial to the soldiers who have died in the war in Iraq.)


Mr. Northern,
I am a Veteran of the Iraq war, having served with the 4th Infantry Division on the initial invasion with Force Package One. While I was in Iraq, a very good friend of mine, Christopher Cutchall, was killed in an un-armored HMMWV outside of Baghdad. He was a cavalry scout serving with the 3d ID. Once he had declined the award of a medal because Soldiers assigned to him did not receive similar awards that he had recommended. He left two sons and a wonderful wife. On Monday night, August 16, you ran down the memorial cross erected for him by Arlington West.

One of my Soldiers in Iraq was Roger Turner. We gave him a hard time because he always wore all of his protective equipment, including three pairs of glasses or goggles. He did this because he wanted to make sure that he returned home to his family. He rode a bicycle to work every day to make sure that he was able to save enough money on his Army salary to send his son to college. At Camp Anaconda, where the squadron briefly stayed, a rocket landed inside a tent, sending a piece of debris or fragment into him and killed him. On Monday night, August 16, you ran down the memorial cross erected for him by Arlington West.

One of my Soldiers was Henry Bacon. He was one of the finest men I ever met. He was in perfect shape for a man over forty, working hard at night. He told me that he did that because he didn't have much money to buy nice things for his wife, who he loved so much, so he had to be in good shape for her. He was like a father to many young men in his section of maintenance mechanics. They fixed our vehicles with almost no support and fabricated parts and made repairs that kept our squadron rolling on the longest, fastest armor advance ever made under fire. He was so very proud of his son-in-law that married the beautiful daughter so well raised by Henry. His son-in-law was a helicopter pilot with the 1st Cavalry Division, who died last year. Henry stopped to rescue a vehicle belonging to another unit on what was to be his last day in Iraq. He could have kept rolling - he was headed to Kuwait after a year's tour. But he stopped. He could have sent others to do the work, but he was on the ground, leading by example, when he was killed. On Monday night, August 16, you took it upon yourself to go out in the country, where a peaceful group was exercising their constitutional rights, and harming no one, and you ran down the memorial cross erected for Henry and for his son-in-law by Arlington West.

Mr. Northern - I know little about Cindy Sheehan except that she is a grieving mother, a gentle soul, and wants to bring harm to no one. I know little about you except that you found your way to Crawford on Monday night in August with chains and a pipe attached to your truck for the sole purpose of dishonoring a memorial erected for my friends and lost Soldiers and hundreds of others that served this nation when they were called. I find it disheartening that good men like these have died so that people like you can threaten a mother who lost a child with your actions. I hope that you are ashamed of yourself.

Perry Jefferies
First Sergeant, USA (retired)




by Howard Bloom

'And let us bathe our hands in . . . blood up to the elbows, and besmear our swords. Then we walk forth, even to the market place, And waving our red weapons o'er our heads, Let's all cry, 'Peace, freedom and liberty!" ' Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

It seems to me quite easy for most us to identify an evil deed in a fellow human being, say a serial killer, or a dictator who massacres thousands of innocent people, but a lot harder to see a disaster, like a tsunami killing hundreds of thousands, as a manifestation of evil. (But the more pagan primitive religions of yesteryear had no problem doing it.) I'm quoting a little more than usual down below from this interesting book as there is so much creative thinking in it. And twenty percent of the book is devoted to its references and source material! The basic premise of The Lucifer Principle is this: religions and politicians trying to explain the nature of the phenomenon they refer to as 'evil' , is tantamount to koalas trying to explain how wristwatches work. Here are three excerpts:

Excerpt 1:

'The Lucifer Principle contends that evil is woven into our most basic biological fabric. This argument echoes a very old one. Saint Paul proposed it when he put forth the doctrine of original sin. Thomas Hobbes resurrected it when he called the lot of man brutish and nasty. Anthropologist Raymond dart brought it to the fore again when he interpreted fossil remains in Africa as evidence that man is a killer ape. Old as it is, the concept has often had revolutionary implications. It has been the thread on which men like Hobbes and Saint Paul have hung dramatic new visions of the world.
I've attempted to employ the subject of man's inborn evil, as have those who turned to the subject in the past, to offer up a restructuring of the way we see the business of being human. I've taken the conclusions of cutting-edge sciences - ethnology, biopsychology, psychoneuroimmunology, and the study of complex adaptive systems, among others - to suggest a new way of looking at culture, civilisation and the mysterious emotions of those who live inside the social beast. The goal is to open the path toward a new sociology, one that escapes the narrow boundaries of Durkheimian, Weberian and Marxist concepts, theories that have proven invaluable to the study of mass human behaviour while simultaneously entrapping it in orthodoxy.
We must build a picture of the human soul that works. Not a romantic vision that Nature will take us in her arms and save us from ourselves, but a recognition that the enemy is within us and that Nature has placed it there. We need to stare directly into Nature's bloody face and realise that she has saddled us with evil for a reason. And we must understand that reason . . .
For Lucifer is almost everything men like Milton imagined him to be. He is ambitious, an organiser, a force reaching out vigourously to master even the stars of heaven. But he is not a demon separate from Nature's benevolence. He is a part of the creative force itself. Lucifer, in fact, is Mother Nature's alter ego.'


'. . . [Indian] Hinduism has seemed to its admirers in the West a profoundly spiritual view of the world. It rejects materialism, lays aside earthly desires, tells its adherents to go with the flow, to accept the world as it is, to build up a positive karma, and to strive for Nirvana in a selfless world. What could possibly be more benign? Under the surface, however, the Hindu religion is not what it seems. In fact, it was the device with which one conquering group managed to validate its theft of power, prestige and goods from a rival superorganism.
In approximately 1,500 B.C. a cluster of Aryans drove their herds of cattle from Iran to Northern India through the Hindu Kush mountains. These were men whose lives centred around two things: their cows, and fighting. So inextricably were the two woven together that the Aryan word gavishti had two meanings: the first, 'to search for cows'; the second, ' to fight.' On the Indian side of the mountains, these violence-prone Iranian cattle herders found a people far more sophisticated than they were. The Iranian intruders could neither read nor write. The people native to India, however, excelled at both. The Iranians had never seen a building more complex than a temporary hut. The Indians had lived for over a thousand years in elaborate cities. But apparently the Iranians had something that the Indian inhabitants lacked: an eagerness to fight. During the next hundred years, the Iranians relentlessly attacked the indigenous Indian population and brutally beat the unfortunate locals into submission. It was a pecking order triumph par excellence. The Iranian invaders reduced the Indians to the shameful role of a conquered people and declared themselves the lords of the land.
But where does a lofty and otherworldly religion fit into all of this? Hinduism was the picture of the invisible world crafted over the following centuries by the priests of the Iranian's descendants. At Hinduism's heart was a simple notion: There were several classes of human beings, as distant from one another as worms are distinct from lions. First there were the 'twice-born' - men favoured by the gods with all their holy blessings. Then there were the Shudras and the outcastes, loathsome people so beneath the contempt of the heavenly deities that the gods refused to accept their prayers. The deities had ordained it thus. They had declared in their infinite power that the twice born were to ride forever on the shoulders of the dirtier and humbler classes of men. For the twice born were close to divinity. The lower castes were not. And who were these exalted twice-born mortals? The descendants of the Iranians.
This pious self-aggrandisement of a conquering barbarian tribe led to the Indian caste system. The top three castes were exclusively reserved for the 'twice-born' Iranians. One of these privileged orders (Kshatriyas) contained the Iranian warriors and aristocrats. The second (Brahmans) included the Iranian priests (those wonderful folks who had come up with the system to begin with). And the third caste housed the Iranian landholders and merchants (Vaishyas). Down at the bottom of society, squirming like insects beneath the Iranian heel, were the original Indian natives, the occupied peoples. They became the loathed Shudras and outcastes. The defeated Indian Shudras were promptly put to work. They were sent into the fields to raise the crops upon which the wealth of the Iranian nobles, priests and merchants would soon be based.
The Iranian overlords were fair skinned. The natives who had been placed in a state of permanent humiliations were dark in hue. That complexion difference was embedded permanently in the name of the social structure. The newly initiated hierarchical layers were called varnas - castes - the Iranian word for colour. . .
. . . . .Why does the Hindu religion tell its adherents to go with the flow, to abhor the things of this world, to set aside earthly desires, to hope only for an improvement of their lot after this life is over? Because Hinduism was designed to keep the conquered Shudras in their place. It told those trapped in the lower castes to be content with their humiliation and shun the appalling actions that might spring from desire and discontent. It instructed them to never overthrow their Iranian masters . . . . "


In the beginning, says Oxford University zoologist Richard Dawkins, in The Selfish Gene, the face of the earth was washed by primitive seas. On the surface of those waters, lightning and sunlight knit together molecules of ammonia, water, carbon dioxide, and methane to form the first organic substances. These substances sloshed inertly beneath the waves, a slowly accumulating, murky sludge. One day a miracle occurred. Some accident twisted a few of the organic clumps of atoms together into a new shape, giving them a property the universe had never seen. The molecular pretzel could make copies of itself. It mindlessly attracted scraps of muck to its surface and - quite accidentally - snapped the molecules it was embracing together like pop-em beads. When the pretzel let the finished product go again, it had unwittingly made a mirror image of itself.
The replica had the same property as its pretzel-like parent. Molecules of sludge were attracted to its surface. Each segment of surface would pull toward it a very specific atomic shape, so the replica's exterior acted like a paint-by-numbers canvas, drawing precisely the correct component to exactly the right spot. Once all the new molecules were lined up in order, they'd snap together. The result was yet another spanking new copy, ready to unpeel from its parent and drift away. The fresh-born copy, in its turn, would attract other wandering molecules to its face, where they would line up, pop together, then uncouple to be carried off by the currents of the sludge-filled early seas. The molecules with the peculiar ability to make copies of themselves are called replicators. These replicators, like the innovations that had preceded them, would move the universe one more step up the ladder of complexity.
For aeons, replicators drifted through the chemical soup of the early earth, casually copying themselves. But eventually, the population of molecular Xerox machines grew overwhelming, and the supplies of untouched organic sludge began to run short. That's when the replicator that could do more than merely reproduce itself had an edge. The replicators that could do more, says Dawkins, were those that 'learned' to make copies from more than just raw sludge. They could take apart their competitors and reassemble the components for their own purposes. Other replicators arose that could defend themselves. The first defense was probably a simple chemical armoured shell, like those that protect some bacteria. But over time, the armoured suits became more intricate, developing muscular whips to provide speed, movable fins for steering, and, far into the future, hands and feet and brains. The descendants of the early replicators are the genes of today. And the latest versions of those first primitive protective suits are you and me.'
(Howard Bloom, The Lucifer Principle, A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History, Allen & Unwin, 1995, NSW, Australia.)


Terminator Haiku 2  

Metal skeleton,
Never to know Christmas cheer...
Too busy killing.


Abu Ghraib General Lambastes Bush Administration
By Marjorie Cohn

I had been hesitant to speak out before because this Administration is so vindictive. But now I will ... Anybody who confronts this Administration or Rumsfeld or the Pentagon with a true assessment, they find themselves either out of a job, out of their positions, fired, relieved or chastised. Their career comes to an end. -- Janis Karpinski, interview with Marjorie Cohn, August 3, 2005


Army Reserve Brigadier General Janis Karpinski was in charge of the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq when the now famous torture photographs were taken in fall of 2003. She was reprimanded and demoted to Colonel for her failure to properly supervise the prison guards. Karpinski is the highest ranking officer to be sanctioned for the mistreatment of prisoners. On August 3, 2005, I interviewed Janis Karpinski. In the most comprehensive public statement she has made to date, Karpinski deconstructs the entire United States military operation in Iraq with some astonishing revelations. (article)


Ways In Which, Conceivably, I Could Become Very, Very Rich

I discover more Internets.
I encourage Santa to check his list twice. He discovers that I have not been naughty at all and in fact have been soooo nice that I deserve a million billion dollars and a pony made of gold.
I become a Republican.
I get breast implants and they turn out to be filled with uranium.
Every time I use a stern voice to tell Donald Rumsfeld, " No!" and then hit his behind with a rolled-up newspaper, the American people give me a dollar. Rumsfeld gives me ten. Perv.
(thanks to Liz Lent)


Terminator Haiku 3
Buy stock in SkyNet!
Just make sure to sell before
the Apocalypse.


Paedophilia and Star Trek
by Ellen Ladowsky


The LA Times recently ran a story about the Child Exploitation Section of the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit, which contained a mind-boggling statistic: of the more than 100 offenders the unit has arrested over the last four years, "all but one" has been "a hard-core Trekkie." Blogger Ernest Miller thought this claim was improbable. "I could go to a science fiction convention," he explained "and be less likely to find that 99+ percent of the attendees were hard-core Trekkies." While there may be quibbling about the exact numbers, the Toronto detectives claim that the connection is undeniable. In fact, Star Trek paraphernalia has so routinely been found at the homes of the pedophiles they've arrested that it has become a gruesome joke in the squad room. (On the wall, there is a Star Trek poster with the detectives' faces replacing those of the crew members). This does not mean that watching Star Trek makes you a pedophile. It does mean that if you're a pedophile, odds are you've watched a lot of Star Trek. This is not the first time Star Trek has been linked to bizarre sexual practices. Those involved in the Heaven's Gate mass suicides in Rancho Sante Fe in March 1997 also purported themselves to be avid Star Trek fans. One may recall that the cult forced its members to wear unisex clothing, had a strict policy of celibacy, a ban on all sexual thoughts, and eight of the members had surgically castrated themselves. So why would sexual deviants be attracted to Star Trek? (article)
(thanks to S.R.)


Terminator Haiku 4  

O Sarah Connor!
When you screwed the Future Man,
You screwed the timelines.


Utility Company Boosts Solar Energy Project
By Laura Wides

Los Angeles - A huge solar energy facility capable of producing more electricity than all other U.S. sun-power projects combined is being planned for the California desert. Southern California Edison signed a 20-year power purchase agreement Monday with Phoenix-based Stirling Energy Systems to build a 4,500-acre project that would produce 500 megawatts, enough electricity for a small city - about 278,000 homes. (article)

(Note: Australia - pay attention!!)



Barney the Purple Dinosaur (and cattle prods)


" . . . Indeed, according to both Jon Ronson and The New Yorker writer Jane Mayer, many of the torture techniques employed at Guantanamo Bay, at Abu Ghraib, and at such less-well-known locales as al-Qa-im near the Syrian border in Iraq, are based on [Lt. Col. Jim] Channon and [Lt. Col. John] Alexander's non-lethal schemes, but with lethal consequences in some cases. Ronson confirmed that a facility at al-Qa-im was conducting "interrogations" of captured Iraqi insurgents, after playing, non-stop, for days at a time, the theme song from Barney the Purple Dinosaur, "I Love You." Ronson is convinced that the music was a cover for subliminal frequencies, very high- or very low-frequency sounds that affect brain functioning, to break prisoners' resistance. The prisoners were kept in metal shipping containers in the scorching sun, blindfolded and in crouching positions, surrounded by barbed wire, with the music (and subliminals) blaring. (article)


Terminator Haiku 5

Foul Terminator
Can't be killed by love or spells;
Only dynamite.



A fairy told a married couple: "For being an exemplary married couple for 25 years I will give you each a wish."
 "I want to travel around the world with my dearest husband" said the wife.
The fairy moved her magic stick and abracadabra! Two tickets appeared in her hands.
 Now it was the husband's turn. He thought for a moment and said:
"Well. . . this moment is very romantic, but an opportunity like this only occurs once in a lifetime. So . . . I'm sorry my love, but my wish is . . . to have a wife 30 years younger than me".
 The wife was deeply disappointed but, a wish was a wish. The fairy made a circle with her magic stick and . . ..Abracadabra! Suddenly the husband was 90 years old.
The moral of the story? - Men are bastards, but Fairies are females!!!
(thanks to Jim Testa)


Dutch Lock Up Free-Range Chickens to Halt Bird Flu
By Nicholas Watt


More than 5 million free-range chickens were shut indoors yesterday as the Dutch government imposed the most stringent measures in the EU to try to prevent the spread of bird flu. (article)

(Note: Does this mean we are now going to have three choices: battery eggs, free-range eggs, and under-house-arrest eggs?)


Terminator Haiku 6

As a teenager,
Rebel leader John Connor
Was a smarmy douche.
(thanks to Lee Ranieri)



The History of Pasta

"It will be maccheroni, I swear to you, that will unite Italy."
Giuseppe Garibaldi, on liberating Naples in 1860

The first certain record of noodles cooked by boiling is in the Jerusalem Talmud, written in Aramaic in the 5th century AD. The word used for the noodles was itriyah. In Arabic references this word stands for the dried noodles purchased from a vendor, rather than homemade noodles which would have been fresh. Dried noodles are portable, while fresh must be eaten immediately. More than likely, pasta was introduced during the Arab conquests of Sicily, carried in as a dry staple. The Arab geographer, Al Idrisi wrote that a flour-based product in the shape of strings was produced in Palermo, then an Arab colony. Some historians think the Sicilian word "maccaruni" which translates as "made into a dough by force" is the origin of our word, macaroni. Anyone who has kneaded durum wheat knows that force is necessary. In the ancient methods of making pasta, force meant kneading the dough with the feet, often a process that took a full day. Ancient Sicilian lasagna dishes, some still eaten in Sicily today, included raisins and spices brought by the Arab invaders, another indication that the Arabs introduced pasta. Whether the Arabs sauced pasta is questionable, and the array of sauces may be an Italian invention. What is certain is that the climate of Italy was perfect for growing durum wheat, a hard wheat from which we get semolina, and the availability of the wheat ensured its popularity. Soft wheat can be used for fresh pasta, but semolina is used for dried pasta. . .


"Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony
Stuck a feather in his hat
And called it macaroni. "

. . .Could you be a macaroni? Have you travelled - as young Englishmen did before the revolutionary war - to Europe? Have you fallen in love with the fashions, manners and tastes of the Europeans? Have you brought them home with you to the shock of the more stolid tastes of those at home? If you can answer yes, then you are a Macaroni. Considering themselves quite elegant, these snobbish young travellers wore the term 'macaroni' with pride. "Yankee" was a mispronunciation of the word "English" in the Dutch language, and "doodle" came from a German word meaning 'simpleton.' In the pre-Revolutionary era, the dandified British macaronis scoffed at the colonialists, and called them Yankee Doodles. In derision, they laughed at the unfashionable colonialists who might stick a feather in their hat and consider themselves in style. Not to be scoffed at, the colonialists picked up the song as a rallying cry for independence, and Yankee Doodle entered the history of the United States. After the success of the Battle of Bunker Hill, verses were added lauding George Washington and his valiant fighting men. The song became part of the the quest for freedom with choruses that changed as the war for independence went on. (article)



Yankee Doodle Macaroni

"Call me Macaroni."
(from ' MOBY BACALLA - Lo Stoccafisso Bianco Grande', by Hermino Mellanzana)

8 ounces Franco-American Instant Macaroni.
13 ounces canned American Ragu Spaghetti Sauce
5 - 6 slices American cheese





Timpano di Maccheroni
(as prepared by Cafe Capriccio)


The popular contemporary film THE BIG NIGHT is a story about two brothers recently emigrated from Italy struggling to operate an 'authentic' Italian restaurant in a small New Jersey town whose residents prefer the style of cooking now featured in places like the Olive Garden. The plot revolves around preparation of a grand feast for a special occasion, including a marvellous appetizer called 'timpano' in the film. The term timpano is either a family name or a dialectic term for a traditional preparation called in Italian timballo, and in French timbale. The Italian word means kettledrum and the preparation featured in the movie is fundamentally a casserole wrapped in pastry dough, shaped like a drum. Italians prepare timballi in many ways, filling the drum with everything from little birds (uccellini) to candied fruits. Our timpano di maccheroni will follow the lines of the movie, although details of preparation were not revealed; only the majestic presentation. Not to worry; we have discovered the secrets of timpano and are eager to share them with you.

Our technique is:

1. Line a 10 inch spring-form pan with pastry dough;
2. Fill it, in layers, with a rich variety of cooked meats, vegetables, macaroni, some cheese, copious herbs and a drizzle of olive oil;
3. Cover the top and sides with pastry dough after the ingredients are assembled;
4. Coat the top with egg-wash;
5. Bake at 400 degrees until it is crisp and deeply colored, about 45 minutes;
6. Let stand for about 30 minutes; and,
7. Cut it in wedges to serve.

Full recipe :www.cafecapriccio.com
(In Italian)



The stream swirls. The wind moans in
The pines. Grey rats scurry over
Broken tiles. What prince, long ago,
Built this palace, standing in
Ruins beside the cliffs? There are
Green ghost fires in the black rooms.
The shattered pavements are all
Washed away. Ten thousand organ
Pipes whistle and roar. The storm
Scatters the red autumn leaves.
His dancing girls are yellow dust.
Their painted cheeks have crumbled
Away. His gold chariots
And courtiers are gone. Only
A stone horse is left of his
Glory. I sit on the grass and
Start a poem, but the pathos of
It overcomes me. The future
Slips imperceptibly away.
Who can say what the years will bring?

~ TU FU ~
One Hundred Poems From The Chinese
translated by Kenneth