There will be a week's break between newsletters due to my having to perform tonight at 1 am in Austin, Texas. I know that with over 36 hours of flying time between Melbourne and Texas that sounds impossible and weird, but between losing and gaining days, that's the way it works out. I wonder, therefore, if I killed my grandfather while I was over there, if I would still be born back here in Melbourne? (Er . . . maybe that's a different theory. Physics wasn't my strong suit. Sounds more like Intelligent Design.)
On a completely different note, I was talking to a friend of mine - an ex-boxer - and he said, "When you lose that killer instinct, it's time to get out of the ring." I said, "Yeah, 'cause then it probably gets replaced by that 'killed instinct' ". But you know, something like that could come in handy. I'm a dual national, as you may know, a citizen of both Australia and the US. There are many positive advantages to that, except of course, if our two countries went to war against each other (say, over something like wheatbix.) But then, I guess I could employ some of US General George Patton's marketing philosophy which was: "Nobody ever won a war by dying for their country . . but by making the other poor bastard die for HIS country!" - and utilising 'killed instinct', I could commit suicide and become a double patriot. (Of course, that would also make me a double traitor at the same time) See . . . such is the logic of patriotism - and people named George. (Thanks for bearing with me while I talked that out. I feel better now.)
Favourite Reader Comments of the Week
RE: THE RUPTURE
Now THAT...was a helluva a rant. I don't know what your capacity for generating light is, amigo, but you sure generate a shitload of heat. After reading and believing my bible for thirty-five years, I almost never find the historical abuses of religious power, the centuries of simony, and the braying of various contemporary frauds ... to be amusing. But that's just me. I like to keep the serious, er ... serious. I always say that if I were the devil, I'd litter the world with counterfeits, so as to obscure the genuine. He, being older and craftier than I, seems to have this strategy well underway. So what's a conscientious soul to do? Deal direct. Never buy faith at retail. You're welcome to quote me, Joe. Since God is ongoingly misrepresented, in such a diversity of ways, anything that might stir folks to strike up a direct interaction, is constructive, in my view. He can presumably speak for Himself, when presented with a bona fide inquiry. Organized religion is not the only form of human collaboration, which has gone awry. Organized government, organized sport...hell, organized folk music has its politics and aberrations. Man...though a social being, seems to weird out when he attempts to collaborate with his fellows. Gets all bossy and grabby. This miserable state of affairs is part of why I embrace the Apocalypse of John. I don't see us evolving socially. I see the powerful consolidating power. Interestingly, the "abomination of desolation" whatever that may be, presents itself in "the holy place." Nothing like religion, as a power to enforce tyranny. Thus judgment day seems warranted and necessary to me, ergo...my limited taste for religious based lampoon and satire. I consider myself to be in "my right mind" and have no problem embracing the diversity of the Johanine canon, or the rest of scripture, for that matter. It's truth, however, resides in the resolution of its many apparent contradictions. Without this labor, your observations on corrupt prooftexting are quite valid. Regards, Peter James , Representing Antje Duvekot (website) and Jaia Suri (website).
RE: THE RUPTURE
Some people don't think this type of thing is funny......but I thought it was hilarious. I guess I am a stupid American.
I am used to controversy but this is ridiculous:
" DAMASCUS, Syria - Thousands of Syrians enraged by caricatures of Islam's revered prophet torched the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus on Saturday - the most violent in days of furious protests by Muslims in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. 'We will redeem our prophet Muhammad with our blood!" they chanted. Mahmoud Zahar, leader of the militant Palestinian group Hamas, told the Italian daily Il Giornale the cartoonists should be punished by death.' "
Pity that Albert Brooks's "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World" didn't catch on. Vivian
Protests Grow over Muhammad Drawings
By Amir Shah
Kabul, Afghanistan - Afghan troops opened fire on demonstrators Monday, leaving at least four people dead, while Iranian police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters hurling stones and firebombs at the Danish Embassy in Tehran as anger mounted over the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad . . . . 200 members of Iran's parliament issued a statement warning that those who published the cartoons should remember the case of Salman Rushdie - the British author against whom the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a death warrant for his novel "The Satanic Verses." (article)
Two Examples of How to Request Deletion from the Newsletter
Nice newsletter but i never have time to read them so please delete from my future mail. M.R.
Joe Dolce Music,
Will you stop sending me this constant junk mail, I swear I will track you down and fucking do you damage, so STOP! it clogs my account. D.S.
(Note: Both people are saying the same thing, but one obviously has better communication skills than the other? Can you spot which one? I just want to show you, folks, that it's not just all gushing praise for putting this newsletter together. As my hillbilly mates used to say down in Athens, Ohio, 'Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you.')
Just a quick one. I just wanted to let you know that [a] I really enjoyed your novelty song as a kid (and still do), and [b] I love your newsletter. Always funny, always provocative, occasionally useful. But do you have to make it so FUCKING LONG? I mean Jesus... 5,584 words! When do you think we get time to read that (and don't say 'on the bog', because I already have quite a library of paperback books to get through there, much to my wife's consternation). By the way, here are a few of pictures I took of you at the Frankston Guitar Festival last year. Cheers, Steven
Steven Pam Photography: WEBSITE
(Note: Why does everyone use the word fuck so much when addressing me lately? I must bring that out in people. Steve! Novelty song? tsk tsk! Wash your mouth out with garlic butter! It's only a 'novelty song' to peanut heads! Thanks for the preview photos! Are you really considering printing out the newsletter - and reading it on the can? Maybe I should print it out on toilet paper so that it can serve several functions (in service of your several functions. boom boom! Or is that: splash splash?) I never print it out myself as, including the full articles, as it would run to over 40 pages. It's really meant to be read ONLINE at the website, Stevorino, the email version is just a reminder. If you read every word, then good on ya! (I do - but that's because putting the newsletter together is a form of self-education for me - as well as a community service - and damn hilarious sometimes. Folks, here's one of Steve's photos - of me leading the Aboriginal 'indjibunji' dialect language version of 'Shaddap You Face' at the Frankston Guitar Festival - plus a link here to the audio version if you want to hear how it sounds.) (audio)
Have you heard of a guy called Don Paragon? (singer, songwriter, poet, libertarian, based in Australia?) came across this while researching something else - thought you might find it interesting (bonus, no religious connection...!) Best regards, Justine Stewart
" School tries to beat any creativity and independent thought out of children; it bores them to death; it is full of humiliation to make children into robots, into cannon fodder waiting for orders, into wax in the hands of hierarchical systems, into faceless bureaucrats who follow the rules, rather than their hearts. School has only been around for, say, one century. Some homeschoolers call school a failed experiment that could only become 'popular' because of compulsory attendance laws. The intrinsically coercive nature of school makes its 'popularity' suspicious to say the least. Take away the dictator's gun and it will not take long before his perceived lustre will evaporate - break the teacher's stick and he instantly loses his marbles! Take away the compulsion, the monopolies and the privileges that the education system exploits, and most educational problems will disappear. " Don Paragon (article)
(Note: Justine, like Pete says up above, organised education
is like organised religion - you have to start somewhere but the
best English teacher I ever knew, Matthew Von Baeyer, whom I met
years after I had long left formal schoolin,' once told me: 'Real
teaching is always done deeply . . . personally . . . and mutually.')
Linguistic Linguine No. 1
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him (Oh, man, this is so bad, it's good) .... A super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis. (boom boom!)
Whitley Strieber and The 911 Hoax Theory
I've been hearing the theories how 911 could have been a US government conspiracy, with controlled demolition, etc for a long time. Usually I take it with the same amount of salt as I do the Kennedy assassination theories: 'Yeah, it could be true - anything is possible - but how about some once-and-for-all proof? How about charging and arresting someone? Talk is cheap." Until then, it's just an entertaining story. Well, the 911 conspiracy story is getting a lot more entertaining. Whitley Strieber, the author of 'Wolfen', and 'Communion', and the brilliant novelization of the film, 'The Day After Tommorrow', is coming a believer. And a growing number of distinguished academics and scientists are starting to take up the argument. In case you aren't up to scratch on all this, here are some of the key arguments:
* In the history of structural engineering, steel-frame high-rise buildings have never been brought down due to fires either before or since 9/11, so how can fires have brought down three in one day? How is this possible?
* The BBC has reported that at least five of the nineteen alleged "hijackers" have turned up alive and well living in Saudi Arabia, yet according to the FBI, they were among those killed in the attacks. How is this possible?
* Frank DeMartini, a project manager for the WTC, said the buildings were designed with load redistribution capabilities to withstand the impact of airliners, whose effects would be like "puncturing mosquito netting with a pencil." Yet they completely collapsed. How is this possible?
* Since the melting point of steel is about 2,700*F, the temperature of jet fuel fires does not exceed 1,800*F under optimal conditions, and UL certified the steel used to 2,000*F for six hours, the buildings cannot have collapsed due to heat from the fires. How is this possible?
* Flight 77, which allegedly hit the building, left the radar screen in the vicinity of the Ohio/Kentucky border, only to "reappear" in very close proximity to the Pentagon shortly before impact. How is this possible?
* A former Inspector General for the Air Force has observed that Flight 93, which allegedly crashed in Pennsylvania, should have left debris scattered over an area less than the size of a city block; but it is scattered over an area of about eight square miles. How is this possible?
* A tape recording of interviews with air traffic controllers on duty on 9/11 was deliberately crushed, cut into very small pieces, and distributed in assorted places to insure its total destruction. How is this possible?
* Their own physics research has established that only controlled demolitions are consistent with the near-gravity speed of fall and virtually symmetrical collapse of all three of the WTC buildings. While turning concrete into very fine dust, they fell straight-down into their own footprints.
Experts Claim Official 9/11 Story is a Hoax
Avoiding the Hard Questions
Linguistic Linguine No. 2
A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?" they asked, as they moved off. "Because", he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer." (boom boom!)
Betty Friedan, Who Ignited Cause in 'Feminine
Mystique,' Dies at 85
By Margalit Fox
The New York Times
Betty Friedan, the feminist crusader and author
whose searing first book, "The Feminine Mystique,"
ignited the contemporary women's movement in 1963 and as a result
permanently transformed the social fabric of the United States
and countries around the world, died yesterday, her 85th birthday,
at her home in Washington.The cause was congestive heart failure,
said Emily Bazelon, a family spokeswoman.
With its impassioned yet clear-eyed analysis of the issues that affected women's lives in the decades after World War II - including enforced domesticity, limited career prospects and, as chronicled in later editions, the campaign for legalized abortion - "The Feminine Mystique" is widely regarded as one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century. Published by W. W. Norton & Company, the book had sold more than three million copies by the year 2000 and has been translated into many languages.
"The Feminine Mystique" made Ms. Friedan world famous. It also made her one of the chief architects of the women's liberation movement of the late 1960's and afterward, a sweeping social upheaval that harked back to the suffrage campaigns of the turn of the century and would be called feminism's second wave. (article)
List of Dead Rock Stars and What They Died of
Average Age at Death of Included Rock Stars:
Average Age at Death of Americans: 75.8 Years
SUMMARY OF CAUSES OF DEATH:
Heart Attack 42, Drug Overdose 40, Misc. Medical 37, Suicide 36, Auto/Cycle Crash 35, Cancer 25, Airplane Crash 22, Unknown 21, Murdered 18, Alcohol 9, Accident 6, Drowned 5, Brain Tumor 4, AIDS 4, Poisoned 3, Leukemia 3, Electrocuted 3, Stroke 3, Fire 3, Choked 2 = Total Deaths: 321 (article)
An Open Letter to Bubba
by Charlie Anderson
I've seen you around. I've seen you driving
your gas guzzling SUV with the "Support Our Troops"
ribbon on the back. I've seen you wearing your pro-war/pro-bush
t-shirts as you walk right past me in my Iraq Veterans Against
the War t-shirt as if I don't exist. And I've seen you at anti-war
rallies and meetings where I often speak, as you wave your American
flag and call me a traitor. In this country we have freedom of
speech. But you owe me and every other veteran of this war the
respect of listening to our experience.
Your magnet says "support our troops," but what have you done for us? Not a penny of the proceeds go to us, instead they go to sweatshops in China. You say that I am not supporting the troops when I say that they should come home. But I am, because I know that there was no threat to our nation from Saddam Hussein, I know that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, and I know that we were not welcomed in Iraq as liberators. I know that the Iraq war was not worth fighting. I know, because I fought there. You say I'm confused. But what do you know about Iraq? You've never been there. (letter)
Linguistic Linguine No. 3
Two dyslexic Jews walked into a bra. (moob moob!)
Democracy and the Untouchables
by Deepak Chopra
A coca farmer has been elected president in Bolivia and a socialist doctor in Chile. Hamas has won majority power in Palestine and a hard-line anti-Zionist leads Iran. These are all democratic outcomes, and in the foreseeable future we can expect more of the same.
From the American perspective, it looks like the worst example of getting what you wish for. We stand for democracy, and now we have to hold our ground when democracy doesn't turn out remotely as we would want it to. Observers point out that the last five elections in the Middle East have brought in Islamic fundamentalists or close to it, while almost every election in South America has brought in socialists with an animus against the U.S., or close to it. (article)
To Comma Within Quotation Marks or Not to Comma Within Quotation Marks?
Which one of the following is correct punctuation:
"This is True," is the name of a well-known publication.
"This is True", is the name of a well-known publication.
Americans would use the former and Brits would
use the latter. Here is one defense: " See the difference
in the placement of the comma? The American system is illogical
and counterintuitive: the name of the publication is, in fact,
"This is True". Its name certainly does not include
a comma, as implied by standard American quotation mark usage!
"British punctuation style" is much more logical and
correct. American schools teach the former because it means the
writer doesn't have to think -- they can just follow a simplistic
rule. Accuracy? Forget it -- it's not even considered.
(thanks to Dai Woosnam)
Linguistic Linguine No. 4
And finally, there was the person who sent twenty different puns to his friends, with the hope that at least ten of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did. (boom boom!)
(thanks to Geoff Newson)
(No adult is this creative!!)
JACK (age 3) was watching his Mom breast-feeding his new baby sister. After a while he asked: "Mom why have you got two? Is one for hot and one for cold milk?"
MELANIE (age 5) asked her Granny how old she was. Granny replied she was so old she didn't remember any more. Melanie said, "If you don't remember you must look in the back of your panties. Mine say five to six"
STEVEN (age 3) hugged and kissed his Mom goodnight. "I love you so much that when you die I'm going to bury you outside my bedroom window."
BRITTANY (age 4) had an earache and wanted a painkiller She tried in vain to take the lid off the bottle. Seeing her frustration, her Mom explained it was a childproof cap and she'd have to open it for her. Eyes wide with wonder, the little girl asked: "How does it know it's me?
SUSAN (age 4) was drinking juice when she got the hiccups. "Please don't give me this juice again," she said, "It makes my teeth cough."
D I (age 4) stepped onto the bathroom scale and asked: "How much do I cost?"
MARC (age 4) was engrossed in a young couple that were hugging and kissing in a restaurant. Without taking his eyes off them, he asked his dad: "Why is he whispering in her mouth?"
CLINTON (age 5) was in his bedroom looking worried. When his Mom asked what was troubling him, he replied, "I don't know what'll happen with this bed when I get married. How will my wife fit in?"
JAMES (age 4) was listening to a Bible story. His dad read: "The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city but his wife looked back and was turned to salt." Concerned, James asked: "What happened to the flea?"
TAMMY (age 4) was with her mother when they met an elderly, rather wrinkled woman her Mom knew. Tammy looked at her for awhile and then asked, "Why doesn't your skin fit your face?"
The Sermon I think this Mom will never forget.... this particular Sunday sermon..."Dear Lord," the minister began, with arms extended toward heaven and a rapturous look on his upturned face. "Without you, we are but dust." He would have continued but at that moment my very obedient daughter (who was listening!) Leaned over to me and asked quite audibly in her shrill little girl voice, "Mom, what is butt dust?"
(thanks to Stephen Ross)
(As I'm going to be in Texas, I might as well give y'all an authentic Texan delicacy. This recipe comes from the Sweetwater, Texas, Chamber of Commerce. The Sweetwater Jaycee's 'World's Largest Rattlesnake Roundup' is held each year in March and hundreds of pounds of rattlesnake meat is cooked and served by Chief Chef Corkey Frazier.)
Yield: 2 servings
1. Find and capture a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.
2. Kill, skin and remove entrails.
3. Cut into edible portions.
4. Make a batter of flour, cracker meal, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
5. Roll your snake portions in the batter.
6. Fry in deep fat, heated to a temperature that will ignite a floating wooden match.
7. Fry until meat is a golden brown.
8. Eat it while watching Brokeback Mountain (with a 'friend'! Wink wink nudge nudge say no more!)