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August 6th, 2004

Acts of Loving Kindness


" The word hesed (sometimes written chesed or chessed) might not be familiar to you.
It's simply the Hebrew name for "acts of loving kindness."

Hi folks,

Has anyone seen the GlobalWarmingTriggeredNewIceAge sci-fi film, 'The Day After Tomorrow'? I gave it a recommendation a few issues back and also recommended the novelization of the screenplay, by writer Whitely Strieber, which is even better than the film. I mentioned that I don't usually read novelizations, but I loved Whitely Strieber's other two stories-made-into-films, 'Wolfen' and 'Communion,' so I figured if a writer this creative is writing a novelization, it's got to be interesting. Now just this week, the ASX listed company, Pacific Hydro, sent me a whole sheaf of information about global warming - and strong recommendations for everyone to see the film 'The Day After Tomorrow'! Pacific Hydro is an ecologically-friendly publicly listed company specialising in large scale wind power energy developments internationally. Windmillls. Big ones. Lots of them. The information they sent me felt like it came from Ceres or some other alternative lifestyle community. Not the usual run of the mill company broadsheets. I found their excellent sources online and have given them below. Example:

" The film's scientific adviser was Dr Michael Molitor, a leading climate change consultant who worked as a negotiator on the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement on climate change. Some may think it silly for such an eminent expert to be involved in an unrealistic Hollywood depiction of climate change, but he doesn't think so. 'Nothing I have done in the 23 years of my climate change career may have a greater impact than this film,' Molitor tells The Age. 'If people start to ask, 'In what way can the climate system lead to an abrupt change?', then we have made a huge advance." (He was also responsible for the film being "carbon neutral", where the emissions to make the film were calculated and then offset by tree plantings.) But the film is not all science fiction. Scientists agree that the movie's premise - that global warming can slow down a crucial ocean current called the Gulf Stream - is actually scientifically sound." (article)

The following article just came in today.

Dry/Ice: Global Warming Revealed
by Drunvalo Melchizedek

". . .Let's look at the facts. Two summers ago the North Pole completely melted for the first time in history that we know of. Both private and military ships floated directly over the actual North Pole as it was completely water. This area has never been seen to be less then ten feet of solid ice. Greenpeace a few years ago announced that the North Pole's winter to summer snow pack had receded by around three hundred miles, but no one listened. And today, as I am writing this article, we are witnessing the Alaska fire that has consumed over one million acres of forest. This fire is burning in an area that is always wet with rain or snow until now. And this fire, as you will understand in this article is directly related to the melting of the poles and the Gulf Stream. But finally the Pentagon, thanks to Andrew Marshall, has told the truth in the Fortune magazine on February 9th. The Pentagon shows a satellite photo of the North Pole in 1970 and then in 2003, which reveals that, according to the Pentagon, 40% of the North Pole has melted in just 33 years. And it is melting faster and faster now. The Pentagon has now proven that all these government statements that the poles are not melting were simply a lie. And it is a lie more damaging than anything that Bush's Iraq war could possibly throw at the United States.
In the South Pole a couple of years ago Larsen A ledge broke off, which surprised many scientists. At that time we were told by the scientific personnel that were studying this event that it was no big deal since this ice ledge had only been connected to the South Pole for about the last ten thousand years. And these same scientists also added that Larsen B ledge that was behind Larsen A ledge would never melt as it has been there for many ice ages. Yet last year, Larsen's B ledge broke off and went to sea. These same scientists said that it would take six months to melt because of its immense size, but again they were wrong. It melted in a mere 35 days, and more significant, it rose the entire world's oceans by almost an inch. Now with Larsen's B ledge gone, an incredibly enormous ice shelf called Ross's Shelf is exposed and the only thing holding Ross's Shelf from sliding into the ocean was Larsen's B ledge. According to my sources, Ross's Shelf is now cracking. If Ross's Shelf were to slide into the ocean, it has been estimated that it would raise the entire world's oceans by sixteen to twenty feet. And that, my friends, would change the world, as almost every coastal city in the world and many islands along with the county of Holland would be underwater. Perhaps it will take an event like this to wake up the world to become serious about Global Warming.
(thanks to Stephen Ross)



Global Humour to Warm You

A penguin walks into a bar in Australia, goes to the counter, and asks the bartender, "Have you seen my brother?" The bartender asks, "I don't know, what does he look like?" (boom boom!!)


Favourite Reader Comments of the Week

Dear Joe,
On land rights and reversals, I strongly recommend to you and your readers Patricia Grace's short story, Ngati Kanguru. It's in her collection The Sky People
(1994, Penguin NZ, pp. 25-43) and tells the story of how Maori people reclaim holiday houses, left empty for months on end by their Pakeha "owners". It's always instructive to see what the consequences are when the power is reversed. Susan Hawthorn, ed. Spinifex Press.

Good for you, Joe!
Another honest, perceptive, thought-ful and thought-provoking edition of your wondrous newsletter! I'm passing it on to all of my ardent Zionist Jewish friends, so they can get the benefit (assuming they're open to it) of your trenchant comments and insights and opinions. Thanks for expanding our minds/awareness!

Dear Joe,
I am an Israeli migrant but have lived in Melbourne since I was eight , 43 years ago. I was of course then one of the wogs at the local primary school. Now I am amongst other things an artist and a creative arts therapist. I've run art therapy groups for child survivors of the Holocaust and still work with and in the service of Holocaust survivors in other ways, and by extension, for the recognition of the suffering of other survivors of trauma. Re: Hanan Ashrawi. Arnold Zable is a fine person and his hands-on efforts on behalf of many people, in my eyes, makes him a much fitter candidate for a Peace Prize that the feted Hanan Ashrawi. The fact that she got a standing ovation from 600 of Sydney's finest does not cut much ice with me. Without making comparisons at all, consider that Germany, which held the best and brightest academics writers and thinkers in the 30's gave great ovations to Hitler. People, even the best of them, can be misguided. While Ms Ashrawi's official speeches are admirable, when faced with an interviewer, during her visit, asking her in plain language if she condemed suicide bombers, she was unable to say the word "yes". Just convoluted sentences about the occupation and desperation, etc. etc. I agree that the Palestinians are suffering terribly and whilst Israel plays a part in this, most of the suffering can be laid on the feet of their own leadership that has swindled them of assets, as well as a number of opportunities to end hostilities, and uses them as human political pawns. Peace initiatives are hard work and involve making on-the-ground difficult connections with the other side. E.g. schools run by Palestinians and Israelis with students from both sides studying together. Friendship and mentoring, business and medical groups that bring people to work together in various ways. These connections are frought with conflict, break down many times but there are people with courage who rebuild them over and over and continue to hope. This is building peace. Arnold Roth had a 15 year old daughter who was blown to bits 3 years ago outside the Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem. In response to that event, Arnold and his wife have set up an organization in her name. called Keren Malki, that lends specialized equipment to people who have disabled children at home. The first person to make use of this foundation and with the Roth's blessing was an Arab family. This is peace at work created out of bitter tears and pain, but nevertheless life affirming. By the way I like the recipies and I will share my best soon also. Keep writing it's good for everyone to engage in debate. All the best,

(Note: C.G. Did you know that the glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher? (true fact!)

Hey Joe,
Good to see those "vulture-like media outlets such as A Current Affair " getting the credit they deserve from one of your cynical, run-with-the-pack correspondents. Current affairs television often deserves criticism for its shallowness and reactive nature. And they rightly get it. Even News Ltd's excellent mastheads slip up from time to time and they also rightly cop a serve. (I won't pass comment on the flaccid organs of Fairfax - they are barely newspapers in the traditional sense.) But Liz Van Dort is right. Were there a real threat of being infected with HIV by going to the cinema, of course her "vulture-like" media would be all over it - rightly warning readers and viewers of the dangers. But the vultures did their homework. They all checked out this internet nonsense. And so you saw no such hysterical reporting. That's a job well done. Congratulations to all vultures.
Alan Howe, Editor, Sunday Herald Sun.

(Note: Alan told me he would actually make one of my recipes when I included a good gnocchi recipe so Al, look no further than the bottom of this page and 'Gnocchi Yourself Out.' To be fair, I plan to include a Vulture recipe down the track when I can find a good one.)

I love your emails. This is just a note to acknowledge your great mind. Thank you for sharing your INSPIRATION. You Rock!

Dear Joe,
My friend Joe G. has been talking for years about starting his own 900 number insulting service. To make it especially insulting, it would open with a voice mail: "For insults to your intelligence, press one.  For fashion insults, press two.  For insults to your physique, press three.  For insults to your family, press four. For live insults, wait for an operator, no better yet, get the f*ck off my phone." However, since he read Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg, he's lost enthusiasm for the project.

(Note: Alicia, ask Joe if he's heard the one about the fat meshuga kid who liked to eat chocolate: 'Two bars went into a Jew.' (boom boom!!!)

Nancy Reagan Won't Appear at GOP Convention, Won't Campaign For Bush

Capitol Hill Blue Staff

The widow of former President, and Republican icon, Ronald Reagan has told the GOP she wants nothing to do with their upcoming national convention or the re-election campaign of President George W. Bush. (article)

Here's Something Different

Is President Bush a Girly Man?
Betty Bowers

We at Baptists Are Saving Homosexuals (BASH) have BASHed enough so-called "gays" with the blunt love of Jesus to know how to spot deviants across a crowded sale at Saks. Outside of Italian shoes, nothing sends up a rainbow-colored flare that you are dealing with a flaming homosexual more reliably than when a man breathlessly gushes the word "faaabulous!" When a Christian lady hears this word outside of her hair salon or florist, she instinctively reaches for the Bible tracts in her purse because she knows a nancy boy is within throwing range. Therefore, conservative Christians throughout the land have become increasingly uncomfortable as they dutifully mask each awkward pause with a flurry of polite applause and yells of "more wars!" during President Bush's somewhat laborious attempts at speaking. While Tony Blair may have mastered the Queen's English, our President's vocabulary calls to mind any number of queens' English. Even our least vigilant Republican social commandos have noticed that Mr. Bush has been peppering his otherwise delightful litany of patriotic jingoism and pleasantly embroidered CIA-intelligence recaps with the effeminate mating call "fabulous" -- three giddy syllables that are tantamount to coyly cooing, "Hello, sailor!" (article)

"And we'll prevail, because we're a faaabulous nation, and we're a faaabulous nation because we're a nation full of faaabulous people." -- George W. Bush., Atlanta, GA, January 31, 2002

(Note: Betty Bowers is the founder of the wildly profitable "Christian Crack Whore Ministry" franchise after seeing a roving pack of strung-out streetwalkers from the back seat of one of her ministry Bentleys. To spend so much of one's day on one's knees without praying struck her as an appalling oversight of the possibilities of multi-tasking! - It occurred to her that if you're going to be on your knees 14-25 times a day, why not pray while you're down there?) (website)

Women Criticize Vatican Document on Feminism
By Philip Pullella

Vatican City - Women have reacted with anger and amusement to a Vatican document on feminism, with some saying the Catholic Church is run by men who live in a time warp and want to keep women in their place. The document, issued Saturday, said modern feminism's fight for power and gender equality was undermining the traditional concept of family and creating a climate where gay marriages are seen as acceptable. Frances Kissling, president of the U.S.-based Catholics for a Free Choice, said she thought she had "passed through a time warp" when she read the document. "I thought for sure I was the 1960s and Archie Bunker had been appointed theologian to the Pope," she said. (article)

(Note: True Fact - Women blink nearly twice as much as men.  (Probably in disbelief.)

Bad Literature

Just like (or as) a bicycle rider lifts his butt from the seat when he sees a bump coming, so Bob pulled back, emotionally, when Alice got angry. (Jim Caughran, Willowdale)

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

What motivates a suicide bombing?
London Sunday Times

"Neither Izzedine nor Ahlam had a history of extremism. Izzedine dropped a hint of what was to come when he asked his pregnant sister, Hala, a few days earlier, that if he died a martyr, would she call her baby Izzedine? 'I took no notice. I just thought he was kidding,' says Hala. Ahlam gave nothing away. She had been studying hard, and helping choose curtains for the new family house. 'She insisted on taking all the decisions,' says her father. Yet the couple carried out their operation with stunning precision and audacity. On the morning of the bombing, Ahlam took her usual lift in her uncle's car to Bir Zeit University. Izzedine, meanwhile, had told his brother he was taking an hour off from his restaurant work to run an errand. Ahlam's job was to guide Izzedine to a spot she had previously identified as 'suitable' for the bombing: a lively junction where shoppers mingle outside the Sbarro pizzeria. Here, Ahlam left Izzedine and was well on her way back down the street when the ambulances started screaming past. 'You know what you put a baby in?' says one of the doctors who was first on the scene, when I ask him to describe what he saw. He pushes his hands backwards and forwards. 'A pushchair,' I say. 'Yes, that's it. It had half a baby in it. Half a baby. What can you do for half a baby?' (article)

Prof. Sondra M. Rubenstein
University of Haifa, Israel

Burned Alive, written by "Souad" in collaboration with Marie-Thérèse Cuny (Bantam Press, 2004), is more than the recounting of shocking and tragic events that took place some 25 years ago in a West Bank village. The book addresses the prevailing taboo of honor killings, the punishment for the perceived misuse of female sexuality, and issues a heart-rending plea to expose and end such executions, which are still considered a "private" affair. Souad, then 17 and several months pregnant, was set afire by her brother-in-law for having had sex before marriage. . . .

Dave Von Kleist

" . . With this in mind let us now look at the report of a plane hitting the Pentagon on the morning of September 11, 2001. As reported, at 8:10 AM EST, Flight 77 departed Dulles International Airport bound for Los Angeles, California, a distance of almost 2700 miles. It was also reported that the Boeing 757 slammed into the northwest face of the Pentagon at 9:40 AM, destroying three of its five rings. If, as investigators, we had come upon a crime scene such as the Pentagon, the first task would be to examine the building and surrounding area, and employ common sense and the available evidence to support the "theory" of a Boeing 757 hitting the building. The first and most important task after arriving at the scene of a crime would be to examine the plane wreckage and determine the point of impact, the trajectory, angle and speed of the aircraft at the point of impact. There is only one problem. There is no trace of recognizable wreckage from a Boeing 757! There is no fuselage, no tail section, there are no wheels, engines, wings, luggage or passenger seats, nor are there any bodies to be found. This leads us to our first and foremost question, if a Boeing 757 crashed into the Pentagon as was reported by the media and government officials, where did it go? What evidence is there to support the theory of an airliner careening into the building? (article)
(thanks to Stephen Ross)

The Humour of Stephen Wright

I have an answering machine in my car. It says, 'I'm home now. But leave a message and I'll call when I'm out.'

My friend has a baby. I'm recording all the noises he makes so later I can ask him what he meant.


Gnocchi Yourself Out

The key to great melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi is this ratio: one third flour to two thirds potatoes, and not too many eggs. So for a cup and a half of mashed potatoes, use a half cup of flour and one egg (or less!). Remember, we are not making bread dough but a sticky little mashed potato ball with a light floury coating and a little egg to hold it all together. NOT bread dough. That's the secret.

salt & pepper

Pick some nice potatoes, wash and peel and boil until cooked through. Cool and mash finely. Add flour and one egg and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. The mixture should still be sticky. Flour a board and turn the mix onto the board and gently roll into a long thin cylinder about an inch in circumference. The tube should be floured on the outside and sticky on the inside. With a wet knife, quickly cut into one inch sections. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and slide or drop the gnocchi into it. When the portions rise to the surface, it's ready. (If you feel like it, you can make a pattern by pressing a fork into the gnocchi before you cook it, but it's not necessary.)

Remember, the mashed potato is already cooked. You are merely heating it up. The gnocchi only has to stay in the water long enough to set the egg and heat through. The more flour you add to the mixture, the longer you have to cook it and the tougher it will turn out, so let that be your guide to getting the light texture you are after. Serve with butter, or the sauce of your choice. This is also a good way to use left-over mashed potatoes the next day for a second meal.

Variation: Gnocchi della Vallerosa

Gorgonzola cheese (very very little) a thin slice.

Boil your gnocchi full pot of water. About the time the gnocchi is done, in the pan add a small amount of gorgonzola, say a tablespoon or so, and begin melting the cheese with a little of the water from your gnocchi pot. Begin spooning the gnocchi into the second pot with cheese using a slotted spoon. Stir the gnocchi around. In the end you have your little dumplings in a milky looking water. That's it. It may not sound like much, but it is very very tasty.


How Everything Adores Being Alive
if you were
a beetle,
and a soft wind
and a certain allowance of time
had summoned you
out of your wrappings,
and there you were,
so many legs
maybe even
more than one pair of eyes
and the whole world
in front of you?
And what if you had wings
and flew
into the garden,
then fell
into the up-tipped
of a white flower,
and what if you had
a sort of mouth,
a lip
to place close
to the skim
of honey
that kept offering itself -
what would you think then
of the world
as, night and day,
you were kept there -
oh happy prisoner -
sighing, humming,
that deep cup?
~ Mary Oliver ~



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