One of my friends from the States recently wished me a Happy Thanksgiving. I emailed back that we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia because we don't have any Indians or any turkeys. (Ok - we do actually raise turkeys here but I don't really consider Canberra part of Australia.)
Thanksgiving: A Native American View
(Jacqueline Keeler is a member of the Dineh Nation and the Yankton Dakota Sioux. Her work has appeared in Winds of Change, an American Indian journal.)
I celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving. This may surprise those people who wonder what Native Americans think of this official U.S. celebration of the survival of early arrivals in a European invasion that culminated in the death of 10 to 30 million native people. Thanksgiving to me has never been about Pilgrims. When I was six, my mother, a woman of the Dineh nation, told my sister and me not to sing "Land of the Pilgrim's pride" in "America the Beautiful." Our people, she said, had been here much longer and taken much better care of the land. We were to sing "Land of the Indian's pride" instead. I was proud to sing the new lyrics in school, but I sang softly. It was enough for me to know the difference. When the Pilgrims came to Plymouth Rock, they were poor and hungry -- half of them died within a few months from disease and hunger. When Squanto, a Wampanoag man, found them, they were in a pitiful state. He spoke English, having traveled to Europe, and took pity on them. Their English crops had failed. The native people fed them through the winter and taught them how to grow their food. . . " Site
FAVOURITE READER COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
I have no idea how I got on your mailing list and to be honest i simply don't care. Maybe i was drunk one night and decided to join, I don't know...Anyway, I have come to love the news letters, so keep up the good work for my sake! Cheers, The Colonel
You would earn my undying gratitude (or at least a hearty thanks) if you could mention that Woolworths is trying to kill our town (Maleny, Queensland) by building a 'supermarket' on the banks of the local creek (which also supplies water to the rest of the North Coast). The vast majority of townsfolk don't want Woolworths to invade the place- we're saying 'we won't shop there'. We invite anyone who reads your newsletter to join us in this boycott. Cheers Laurel Wilson www.thegoodwills.com
Re: BBQ Rattlesnake Recipe
This could be an equally good way to cook New Zealand eel. (seriously) Or a boa (after you remove the human) Cheers, Judith
I'm having a housecooling party tomorrow (if a housewarming is when people give you gifts after you move in, a housecooling is when you offer a table full of things you don't want to take when you move out.) Since 'tis the season, I'm going to put on your CD and play "A Girl is Born in Bethlehem". After dark I'll be showing documentaries of some of my favorite Difficult Women -- Georgia O'Keefe, Anais Nin, Juliette de Bairacli-Levy, Rell Sun, and maybe I'll rent Frida for the late stayers . . . Big alohas to you, ABL
Somehow last year i managed to get onto your newsletter emailing list. I've enjoyed it immensely... it's the best reading I get. (Can you do one daily?) I've recently changed provider and seem to have misplaced you. Could you please add me on to your list again with this new address. Keep up the good work, and thank you. Regards, Frank J.
I really enjoy your newsletter .... as does my aging but still kicking dad from whom I see you published a letter some time back. But ... Yes the . . . . But! . . . . Must you always slip in a reference for that song you wrote some 20 odd years ago ? I mean.......Why? Am i missing something? Is it a joke or something? Is the act of mentioning it in some form or other in every newletter you send out part of the ongoing joke ? I wont mind it if you mention it during an explanation either in person or in the forthcoming email... but for heaven's sake and mine....AND yours... move on !!! I do really enjoy you turn of phrase and slant on politics, religion etc. ...but PLEASE!!! Yours with respect, D.F.
(Note: Dear D.F., Re: Shaddap You Face. Thanks for your concern about my song Shaddap You Face, your questions about my continual references to Shaddap You Face in my newsletters, and your advice about why I don't shaddap my face about Shaddap You Face. I guess before I can shaddap about Shaddap You Face, you'ld probably need to know a little more about the face I had to shaddap so often as a shaddap you faced child - in order to better understand why I can't simply shaddap and am so compelled to mention Shaddap You Face so often and so un-shaddapingly.
(Either that, or I'm getting senile.) Hey! Joe
BUSH SUCKS WEB RING
For those of you who miss my weekly diatribe
against George W Bush (who I no longer consider the problem, by
the way, just a symptom) this web ring may appeal to you.
OK OK OK . . . one last kick . . . . .
Saddam Pens Anti-Bush Poetry
(Reuters) -- Saddam Hussein is passing his time in solitary confinement by reading the Koran, writing poetry, gardening and snacking on American-style cookies and muffins)
One Foot In The Grave
One Foot In The Grave
presumably is the only punk rock band from the retirement community
of Sun City, Arizona, USA. With an average age of sixty-something,
JoDina (vocals and licensed embalming), Lowell Ebert, 76 (guitar)
Gavan Wieser (bass), Dan Wall (guitar), Ray Kosturik (drums) and
Vince Rosselli, 72, (multi-instrumentalist but can't play any
of them) brew their own concoction of Geritol and punk. Their
repertoire features such geriatric originals as "Menopause",
"Sun City Rocks" and "Golf Cart Drivers From Hell"
as well as covers of tunes by The Ramones, The Violent Femmes
and Green Day. (Previous members include: Gene "Gino"
Costa, a retired court reporter, took up the drums when he turned
60. He heard he could meet cute chicks easier if he was in a rock
band than by whistling at them from his golf cart. He was recruited
by JoDina as the only applicant out of 12 who didn't walk right
out when finding out that it was about a punk band. Gino's trademarks
included a black beret, a leather jacket proclaiming "Elvis
Lives" and a hilarious dance shtick. He left the band at
age 79 because of emphysema. Danny Walters, accordion, served
as an arranger for Lawrence Welk's band for 20 years until 1959.
He completed the original Foot lineup in 1990. Danny's trademark
was a studded jeans jacket sporting the Megadeth logo on the back.
He appeared on the first CD at age 75 but has since left the band
because his wife beat him up after a young female fan threw her
bra on stage.)Site
What If Every Church Had Been a Peace Church?
Gary G. Kohls, MD
History documents clearly that the Christian church of the first three centuries took Jesus' teachings of unconditional love of friend and enemy seriously. In actuality, the church of Jesus Christ started out as a peace church. So, if the church of the first few centuries was a peace church, and the latter church of the last 1700 years has been a Justified War church (and usually with a vengeance), one has to wonder: "What would the world be like now if Every Church Had Been A Peace Church?" A little clear thinking for those who know a modicum of history would come up with a multitude of realities and tantalizing possibilities, including the following:
1) The baptized Catholic Adolph Hitler would have been raised within a progressive peace church by a strong pacifist Catholic mother who would have nurtured and loved and protected little Adolph from the cruelty of his father and the cruelty of his society.
2) The Lutheran Adolf Eichmann, the Orthodox Christian Joseph Stalin, and the baptized Catholics Benito Mussolini and Joseph Goebbels and most of the rest of those of fascist infamy were Christians, but none of them were ever taught, with any emphasis, that the Sermon on the Mount was central to the theology of Jesus and that nonviolence was at the core to his teachings.
3) If every church had been a peace church, the southern American Christian churches would have had to reject slavery (or their faith in Jesus) and the American Civil War might not have happened.
4) If every church had been a peace church, Christian European monarchs and their obedient Christian soldiers would not have brutalized and raped Africa, Asia and the Americas into colonial submission over their natural resources, and the bloody and divisive armed revolutions of liberation would not have had to be fought a century later.
5) If every US church was a peace church, a unified, benevolent United States Christianity would be working hard right now to nurture and reconcile with, rather than demonize and marginalize, the officially feared minorities such as Jews, blacks, gays, lesbians, and foreigners of all descriptions, including Colombian peasants, the Sudanese, Hispanics, Orientals, Palestinians, etc., etc. (more) Site
Jesus + Prozac = Bush, an Essay
(The US) is witnessing a massive revival of conservative religious extremism. The various forms of fundamentalist Christianity are among the most bizarre, militant, insane, and cruel forms ever to evolve. You see, there is evolution.
The Christian right's militant goal is to turn the US into a Christian country. Do not be fooled by semantics, their effort is to eventually raise Jesus into a national messiah. First, get the Old Testament "God" in the front door, then later Jesus can be easily assimilated without much trouble. And they are doing that successfully. Bush manipulatively uses his own claims as a re-born Christian to move our country in this disastrous direction.
Did you know, according to current medical theory, that sadness has nothing to do with human vulnerability, but is actually a "chemical imbalance" in your brain? You will be given a pill to "correct" this imbalance. If you are not sure about the origins of sadness, you can be certain of this, that these powerful anti-depressants are making pharmaceutical companies rich beyond belief.
Have you considered the relationship between loneliness and love? Has it ever occurred to you that it is part of your sacred humanness to feel sad, lonely, or depressed? The other day I saw a brilliant bumper sticker. It said, "I used to care, but now I take a pill for that." Human beings are quickly losing the thought-remnants of what it means to be healed, whole, and holy. Site
Is America A 'Christian Nation'?
Religion, Government And Individual Freedom
Religious Right groups and their allies insist that the United States was designed to be officially Christian and that our laws should enforce the doctrines of (their version of) Christianity. Is this viewpoint accurate? Is there anything in the Constitution that gives special treatment or preference to Christianity? Did the founders of our government believe this or intend to create a government that gave special recognition to Christianity?
The answer to all of these questions is no. The U.S. Constitution is a wholly secular document. It contains no mention of Christianity or Jesus Christ. In fact, the Constitution refers to religion only twice in the First Amendment, which bars laws "respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," and in Article VI, which prohibits "religious tests" for public office. Both of these provisions are evidence that the country was not founded as officially Christian. Site
America's Founding Fathers Were Deists
The word "Deism" is derived from the Latin word for God: "Deus." Deism is defined in Webster's Encyclopaedic Dictionary, as: "One who believes in the existence of a God or supreme being but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason." A movement or system of thought advocating natural religion, emphasising morality, and in the 18th century denying the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe.
Deism is, as stated above, based on nature and reason, not "revelation." All the other religions make claim to special divine revelation or they have requisite "holy" books. Deism has neither. In Deism there is no need for a preacher, priest or rabbi. All one needs in Deism is their own common sense and the creation to contemplate.
"The United States of America should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy. . . The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." George Washington, 1st President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Continental Army
"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government . . . In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own . . . One day the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in the United States will tear down the artificial scaffolding of Christianity. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. . . .[A]n amendment was proposed by inserting 'Jesus Christ,' so that [the preamble] should read 'A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion'; the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination." Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States, and author of the Declaration of Independence
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise . . . During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution. . . .What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny: in no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people. " James Madison, 4th President of the United States, co-framer of the Bill of Rights, and known as the Father of the Constitution
"...Some books against Deism fell into my hands....It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quote to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations, in short, I soon became a thorough Deist." Benjamin Franklin, co-drafted the Declaration of Independence, and signatory to the Constitution
"Denominated a Deist, the reality of which I have never disputed, being conscious that I am no Christian. " Ethan Allen, Leader of the Green Mountain Boys, from 'Religion of the American Enlightenment'
"My own mind is my own church. All national institutions
of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me
no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave
mankind, and monopolize power and profit. . . . Whenever we read
the obscene stores (of the Bible), the voluptuous debaucheries,
the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness
which which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more
consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the Word of
God." . . . when I see throughout the greater part of
this book (the Bible) scarcely anything but a history of the grossest
vices and a collection of the most paltry and contemptible tales,
I cannot dishonor my Creator by calling it by His name. . . .Of
all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is
no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more
repugnant to reason, and more contradictory in itself than this
thing called Christianity. " Thomas Paine, writer and
key inspiration for The Declaration of Independence
THE COWBOY AND THE CONSULTANT
A cowboy was herding his herd in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"
The cowboy looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure. Why not?"
The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his AT&T cell phone, surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS! satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored.
He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of complex formulas. He uploads all of this data via an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.
Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1586 cows and calves."
"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says the cowboy. He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.
Then the cowboy says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my animal?" The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"
"You're a consultant." says the cowboy.
"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"
"No guessing required." answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; then you wanted to get paid for an answer I already knew; to a question I didn't ask; and you don't know anything about my business."
"Now give me back my dog."
(thanks to David Mathews and Joe Creighton)
Cosima Wagner's Diaries
This is one of my favourite books to read for musical inspiration. The diary of Richard Wagner's wife, Cosima. Like Neitzche, Wagner's work was hijacked by the Nazis, and perverted for their own design. (In Neitzche's case, initiated by his own anti-semitic sister, Elisabeth, long after the non-nationalistic Neitzche himself had been committed to a mental asylum.)
The daughter of composer and pianist, Franz Liszt, Cosima began to write her diaries in Jan 1869, just a few weeks after leaving her first husband to live with Richard Wagner, 24 years her senior. Until his death, 14 years later, in 1883, they rarely parted. These diaries are the only day-by-day account of the life of one of the world's most influential composers and they are kept with great attention to detail. After Wagner died, Cosima lived another 47 years, taking full charge of the festivals at Bayreuth until 1906, when she handed the responsibility over to her son Siegfried.
However, from the date of Wagner's death to her own, she wrote no further diaires.
The main thing is that one should be out of the ordinary. In me the accent lies on the conjunction of poet and musician, as a pure musician I would not be of much significance. R.W. Aug 1869
He should be regarded as the conclusion of the middle ages, for it is nonsense to regard Bach as of our own time . . .endowed with this rich and mysterious imagination, dispensing with beauty, but achieving sublimity which is greater than all beauty.. R.W. June 1870
Everybody should improvise, every good musician can produce something interesting in his improvisation. But writing it down is quite a different process, then it has to be turned into a sonata, a suite and so on, and it takes a lot to revitalize a familiar defined form. R.W. January 1871
Beethoven was the first to write music which was listened to purely as music, all previous things were designed to enliven social gatherings or to accompany what was going on in the church or on the stage. R.W. January 1871
What strikes me is Berlioz's inability to develop his themes, which are often very fine, something he shares with Schubert; he does not perceive, as Beethoven and Bach so profoundly perceive, all that a theme contains, that it is the seed from which the whole plant must emerge! R.W. Oct 1875
Do you know that sometimes, when I have a musical thought, I catch myself with my mouth set just like Beethoven's in his death mask? - I demonstrated it to you quite wrong, the lower lip should not be thrust forward, it is a grimace of clenched teeth, of keeping silent . . . probably peculiar to musicians . . .yes, very often, when I am in the grip of some musical idea, I fall asleep like this; it is sort of enforced silence, from which the sound then emerges. R.W. July 1878
Richard wrote down a theme which came to him during the evening, and discovers that the counter-theme can be found in a simple reversal of it; he says there are melody spectra for the ear just as there are light spectra for the eyes. C.W. Jan 1876
Musicians are in fact very petty people who don't know what is important, but then on the other hand, someone like Mozart comes along who was like a child, but never did anything silly. R.W. Oct 1878
(Liszt's) personality has caused a lot of trouble: these young people want to imitate something that cannot be imitiated, and because of it they miss all the music. R.W. Oct 1878
A melody! What a heavenly thing that is, wrapping everything in purity, enobling it! When one hears something like that, one has the feeling that nothing ever existed before, as if everything is now beginning to breathe for the first time. R.W. Oct 1878
When a melody leaves no place to draw a breath, then it is beautiful. R.W. Aug 1881
Richard showed me the orchestral sketch of Parsifal and his ruled score; in the former all the instruments have been written in. These preparations provide his final pleasure in his work, he says, for once it is written down, pleasure vanishes - all that is left is piano arrangement, publication and - worst of all, performance! C.W. Nov 1879
Music has taken a bad turn; these young people have no idea how to write a melody, they just give us shavings, which they dress up to look like a lion's mane and shake at us . . it is as if they avoid melodies, for fear of having perhaps stolen them from someone else. R.W. June 1880
Richard is annoyed by a renewed request to sign a petition against the Jews addressed to Prince Bismark. He reads aloud the ridiculously servile phrases and dubiously expressed concern: 'And I am supposed to sign that?' he exclaims. . . . He has resolved never again to sign a petition. C.W. July 1880
Richard replies on a postcard to an appeal from an anti-Jewish
neswpaper that he does not wish to anything to do with them or
indeed with the German Reich at all . . . C.W. Mar 1881
(Cosima Wagner's Diaries, edited by Geoffrey Skelton, Pimlico, London 1994.)
A MORAL TO THE STORY
The teacher gave her fifth grade class an assignment.
Get their parents to tell them a story with a moral at the end
of it.The next day the kids came back and one by one began to
tell their stories.Ashley said, "My father's a farmer and
we have a lot of egg-laying hens. One time we were taking our
eggs to market in a basket on the front seat of the car when we
hit a big bump in the road and all the eggs went flying and broke
and made a mess."
"What's the moral of the story?" asked the teacher.
"Don't put all your eggs in one basket!"
"Very good," said the teacher.
Next little Sarah raised her hand and said,
"Our family are farmers too. But we raise chickens for the
meat market. We had a dozen eggs one time, but when they hatched
we only got ten live chicks, and the moral to this story is,
"don't count your chickens before they're hatched."
"That was a fine story Sarah. Little Johnny, do you have a story to share?"
"Yes, my daddy told me this story about my Aunt Susan. Aunt Susan was a airborne trooper in the Gulf War and her plane was hit. She had to bail out over enemy territory and all she had was a bottle of scotch, a machine gun and a machete. She drank the scotch on the way down so it wouldn't break and then she landed right in the middle of 100 enemy troops. She killed seventy of them with the machine gun until she ran out of bullets. Then she killed twenty more with the machete until the blade broke. And then she killed the last ten with her bare hands."
"Good heavens," said the horrified teacher, "what kind of moral did your daddy tell you from that horrible story?"
"Stay the fuck away from Aunt Susan when
she's been drinking."
(thanks to Joe Creighton)
Weekly Gangsta Horoscope
ARIES (March 21-April 19) Consult members of your posse before making an important decision. Don't let no fool jam you up. Drink several 40s at dusk to relieve tension.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20) Your beeper brings news of lucrative business possibilities. Take your favorite ho out to dinner to celebrate. Avoid drivebys.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20) Make sure your back is covered if pulling a liquor store job. Don't pay attention to no crazy-ass bitch. Demand your props from new acquaintances. Word.
CANCER (June 21-July 22) Pack an extra piece
if leaving the 'hood today. A poster of Snoop Dogg could add luster
to your crib. Carjacking a BMW may lift your spirits.Site
This is one of the series of recipes I have been creating to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Shaddap. The sauce has a slight middle eastern quality by the addition of cinammon and cumin, and as well as making meatballs, I'm also adding some kangaroo-pork mince to the sauce for added flavour. Mountain Pepper Berry is an indigenous Australian spice, that can be used like black pepper, but with an initial and subtle hint of eucalyptus and a hot peppery kick that follows. As the title suggests, it should 'quiet down' your guests.
300 grams ground kangaroo meat
100 grams ground lean pork
finely chopped garlic
finely chopped onion
finely chopped parsley
salt & pepper
olive oil, for frying
The pork adds some fat to the kangaroo meat, which is very lean. Mix all ingredients together well. Form into 25 small balls. Fry in the oil until cooked through. Remove meatballs from pan and set aside.
1 litre tomato puree
1/2 onion, minced chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1/2 red chili, seeds removed and chopped finely
150 grams mixed kangaroo and pork mince (2 parts kangaroo - 1 part pork)
5 thin slices of guanciale or pancetta (or bacon)
2-3 tbles cumin seeds, ground to powder in mortal & pestle
1 cinammon stick, whole
1/2 cup white wine
salt & pepper to taste
ground Mountain Berry Pepper
grated fresh parmesean cheese
In the same oil that you have cooked the meatballs, fry guanciale a little until it starts to release its fat and then add the onions. Add the minced kangaroo/pork mixture and cook through. Add the cumin powder, black pepper, red chili and garlic. Cook for a couple minutes. Add the white wine and cook for a few minutes until the alcohol is dissipated. Add the tomato puree and the cinammon stick. (A tablespoon of sugar wouldn't hurt.) Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for one hour. Add a little water if necessary. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the meatballs and cover, continuing to simmer over low heat, for half hour, or until ready to serve.
Toss some freshly made al dente pasta in a saucepan with the sauce and kangaroo meatballs. Sprinkle parsley and parmesan cheese over the top and a little ground Mountain Berry Pepper.