Dear fellow Paraskevidekatriaphobiacs,
According to Dr. Donald Dossey, a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of phobias (and coiner of the term paraskevidekatriaphobia), a whopping EIGHT PERCENT of Americans have a pathological fear of Friday the 13th. I was born on Friday October 13th and whenever my birthday happens to fall on that day, I try to have a 'lucky' party - everyone has to bring something lucky to help balance out the cosmic conflagellations. Once someone gave me a bag of Lucky dogfood. (I ate his liver with some fava beans, tripe meatballs, and a nice chianti . . . th-th-th-th-th!)
Speaking of tripe, my mate Big Russ Hannah, one of the co-ordinators of the Illawarra Folk Festival, is ticked off at me because I am not able to make it up to Bulli, NSW, for the annual Tripe Eaters Dinner and Folk Concert that preceeds the festival every year. He has advised me that the tripe eaters have taken out a fatwah against me for this disrespect. I have managed to persuade him to reduce it to the lesser charge of a thinwa if I supply three creative tripe recipes which I have done below. I have also included a couple of articles about people who create art installations and clothing from tripe. Perhaps I could do something like this next year, Russ? Would you be willing to be my model? Bac-Allah! (Pesce be upon Him.) Here's the festival website.
A poetic and hyper-personal song I wrote over fifteen years ago, Father, has advanced onto the second round of judging in the Lyrics Only category in the biggest songwriting contest in the USA, The 2005 International Songwriting Competition, with over 15,000 entrants. Some of the judges of this songcraft orgy include Tom Waits, Loretta Lynn, Run D.M.C., LeAnn Rimes, the Indigo Girls, John Scofield, Macy Gray, Steve Vai and Charlie Musselwhite, as well as many others. What a strange group! (I wonder if Charlie Musselwhite reads poetry?) Here are the LYRICS.
Enjoy your emails but pls drop the patterned background as it soo hard to read the text on the [online] version of the newsletter, at least in my version [Mac] Eve
Definitely going to try the sweet potato gnocchi.
Cheers, Doug Ashdown (songwriter - author of 'Gnocchi in America.'
How did i get on your list? have we met? Regards, Quang X. Pham
(Note: Who knows? A friend of a friend of a pet or something like that. Anyway, I do meet the most interesting people this way. Have a look at Quang's book: "A Sense of Duty: My Father, My American Journey" (Ballantine Books, 2005) website
Re: Clarifications on Female Circumcision
I felt that I should provide some further clarification and response to the e-mail sent . . . regarding female circumcision - especially in relation to supposed official Islamic support for the practice. Firstly for a far more detailed analysis of the various practices that can be termed female circumcision please read through this article.
Secondly I have included an article produced by the Minaret of Freedom Islamic Institute, which addresses the issue of female circumcision and the hadith mentioned . . . article
RELIGION AND FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
A Summary of Remarks to the Ethiopian Community
by Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
Islamic law is well-defined through a tradition of jurisprudence. The sources of that law are, in order of importance: the Qur'an which is the Muslim scripture, the practice of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his community (passed on through traditions called hadîth, consensus (which may be census of the scholars or of the entire community--a point of controversy) and ijtihâd or the individual efforts of scholars to attain understanding of the sharî`ah (i.e., the Divine Law) through various tools which I shall not go into here.
Although there is no reference to circumcision at all in the Qur'an, there is a well-established tradition of male circumcision in Islam as a "sunnah" act (i.e., one following the practice of the Prophet and his companions). There is no mandate at all for female circumcision, however. Although female circumcision is not mandated, one tradition of disputed authenticity permits (but does not encourage) the removal of a minuscule segment of skin from the female prepuce, provided no harm is done. Permitting such a ritual constitutes an act of tolerance by Islamic law for pre-Islamic practices, and may be overruled by the Islamic prohibition against harmful acts. Consider, for example, that Islamic law protects a woman's right to sexual enjoyment, as demonstrated by the fact that a woman has the right to divorce on the grounds that her husband does not provide sexual satisfaction. It follows that Islamic law prohibits clitorodectomy (partial or complete) or infibulation, or any genital mutilation which impairs the woman's ability to enjoy sexual relations. People often confuse traditions rooted in local culture with religious requirements. (or for more details see article) Regards, Joshua R.
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(thanks to Jon Sullivan)
This Year, Let's Not Resolve to Lose Weight
by Michele Simon
. . . obsession with weight loss-whether evidenced by magazine covers or the latest federal educational program-only fuels the "personal responsibility" mantra of the food industry. Major food companies and their lobbying front groups are currently engaged in a major public relations campaign designed to stave off any government regulation of their over-zealous marketing practices. Foremost in corporate spin control is how personal responsibility is the true cause of (and solution to) America's obesity epidemic.
It's not industry's fault it spends $34 billion a year marketing the very foods most people need to eat less of; companies are just providing Americans with "choice" and "good value", they say. Why, it's up to individuals to figure out how to incorporate healthful foods into their lives (while ignoring all the marketing of course); that's not the government's business. It's easy to see how industry can get away with this position when everywhere you look are messages telling us to diet and exercise our way to a slim and trim figure, even from government itself.
What's wrong with the focus on individual behavior? Isn't it true that Americans are just a bunch of coach potatoes that need to "get real" as Dr. Phil says? Of course, on some level we are all ultimately responsible for our actions. But why is it so hard for most people to find inexpensive, healthful food? Why is the default what some have called a "toxic food environment?"
Personal responsibility isn't the cure-all for healthy living Big Food would like it to be. The real question is: to what extent does society bear responsibility for making it easier for people to make healthy choices? Nutrition policy should be about reshaping the current corporate-driven environment that places profit above people, toward a more health-promoting and sustaining model.
Obesity shifts the focus away from policy and places it back onto the individual. What's the first thing you think of when you hear the word obesity? A fat person, right? And what images go along with that? If you have the biases of most Americans, that the person is lazy (among other negative traits) and is responsible for their own fat fate. Nutrition advocates couldn't have invented a more self-defeating "framing" than obesity. (article)
'SING FOR WATER', PAUL KELLY AND THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES
Sing for Water Australia in partnership with Water Aid, Australia, are free mass choir concerts, which celebrate the power of the voice while raising funds for clean water and sanitation projects in the Pacific Region and in South East Asia. WaterAid is dedicated exclusively to the provision of safe domestic water, sanitation and hygiene education to the world's poorest people. Sing for Water, Melbourne will support a new program in East Timor where only 20% of the population have access to safe water and only 15% to sanitation facilities. Much of East Timor's basic infrastructure was destroyed during the terrible violence following the 1999 independence ballot. Many women and children spend hours each day walking long distances to collect mostly dirty and unsafe water. Collecting and carrying water prevents women from doing vital domestic or income generating work and stops children, especially young girls, from going to school. Hygiene education is also a key part of WaterAid's work. WaterAid has been successfully managing these projects for over 20 years and in 2004 set up a branch here in Melbourne focusing on The Pacific Region and South East Asia. website
This is an excellent cause and charity and I would like to thank my friend, Kavisha Mazzella, who is leading the choir, and songwriter, Paul Kelly for lending their services and voices to a beautiful and worthy endeavour.
Paul Kelly and his cousin, Dan Kelly, have also written a song for the event, Tonight Our Fires, and donated their commission to charity, which is very generous. Paul Kelly has always been a giving person in my experience, as far as important social issues go, and was the first one to get on board for two of the Amnesty International Secret Policeman's Balls that I organized in the early 90s.
However, Paul and Dan's song is also being used for this year's Commonwealth Games, and the games organisers apparently hope to make it the theme song of the Games in future years.
I have a problem with this lyric. A big problem. With its central idea and with its language. In my opinion, the themes are totally inappropriate, not only to raising consciousness about water, but also to the Commonwealth games, and more importantly, to promoting Peace. I wish the Kellys had written something else for the choirs to sing. Why this type of sentiment? - which really has nothing to do with water, or sport? I plan to go into this a little more over the next month leading up to the Sing For Water concerts but for now I would like interested readers, especially fellow writers and songwriters, to send me their own comments. See if anyone can understand why I object to this being used for these events:
In Melbourne -
The Day London Declared Peace on the World
Featuring a DVD about the recent London international peace conference and report back by Judy McVey who attended the conference
Tuesday 17 January
7pm at Caffe Mingo,
600 Sydney Rd
On 10 December, 1500 activists met in London to discuss and plan future strategies for the international peace movement to oppose the occupation of Iraq.
The outcome was to organise an international rally on the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, 18-19 March 2006, as well as solidarity with the Iraqi oil-workers union and other activities.
The DVD features a number of interesting and inspiring speakers including Tariq Ali, Cindy Sheehan, Tony Benn, Phyllis Bennis and George Galloway, as well as prominent Iraqis from the struggle in the Middle East Hassan Juma, Hanna Abrahim, Ayatollah Khalisi.
There will be plenty of time for discussion around ideas to build the anti-war movement this year.
This was an exciting conference hosted by the British Stop the War Coalition and joined by a very confident group from the US who were keen to explain why George Bush has become one of the least popular US presidents and why support for his war in Iraq is at rock bottom. In the US and Britain the campaigning by military families has sparked a new wave of opposition to the occupation.
A Reinstated Military Draft? Advice From An Old Man
by Doug Soderstrom
Due to a craze of events around the world, the United States may find it necessary to reinstate the draft; that is, the U.S. government might be forced into telling our nation's youth that they have no choice but to honor the call of Uncle Sam, don a military uniform, and go to war. The precipitating factor for such an emergency will likely be that of a joint venture between Israel and the United States, a coordinated military attack upon Iran sometime around late spring or early summer of 2006. Iran has apparently decided to do whatever it must in order to develop its nuclear facilities. On the other hand, Israel and the United States have made it clear that they will not allow Iran to do such a thing. Short of a miracle there seems to be no way out, no way to avoid such a clash.
Now, if such a war does become a reality, I suppose that our government could decide to forgo a ground war, and simply bomb the hell out of Iran. However, although such a strategy would likely "fill the bill" in the primary stages of the war, it would not be long before ground troops would be needed. Believe me, there is no way Iran will simply roll over and play dead. As the dominant Shiite player in the Middle East, they will fight to the bitter end to protect their rights as a sovereign nation. (article)
Belafonte calls Bush 'Terrorist,' Praises Chavez
Caracas, Venezuela -- U.S. singer and activist
Harry Belafonte called President Bush "the greatest terrorist
in the world" Sunday and said millions of Americans support
the socialist revolution of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. Belafonte,
a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, led a delegation of Americans that
met with the Venezuelan president for more than six hours late
"No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush, says, we're here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people . . . support your revolution," Belafonte, 78, told Chavez during the broadcast. (article)
Pinter's Wonderful 2005 Nobel Address
Funny Bush-Blair MULTI-MEDIA
(thanks to Stephen Ross)
This week I watched the three films, in sequence,
made from author Thomas Harris's novels: Red Dragon, Silence
of the Lambs and Hannibal. And last night, the exciting
little known movie that was made from his very first book, Black
Sunday, a brilliant thriller, produced by Robert Evans, with
Robert Shaw, and Bruce Dern, directed by John Frankenheimer, about
a terrorist attack on the US Superbowl, which presages September
11th and the entire 24 TV series by a couple of decades.
If you haven't seen this film, go find it. It has been one of
my favourites for years. Still possible, too.
Behind the Mask is the new novel written by Thomas Harris to be published in 2006. It is a prequel set before Red Dragon in Hannibal Lecter's early years. It will explain how Lecter developed his particular appetite for evil. A film adaptation, Young Hannibal, is also in the works for a 2006 release. The film will be directed by Peter Webber from a screenplay by Harris. The Weinsteins will distribute the film in the United States. The new story follows Lecter from his childhood in Lithuania through a period in Paris in his teens to his arrival in the US. Anthony Hopkins will return, but only to do voiceover work. The original title of the film was "The Lecter Variations" (referring to Bach's Goldberg Variations which have been a recurring musical reference in the Lecter saga to date) but has been replaced with " Young Hannibal - Behind the Mask". Writer Thomas Harris is quoted saying ... "Lecter was born into a very rich family but the war destroyed his family and killed his parents. He was left with his sister with whom he had a very close relationship." Actress Gong Li plays Lady Murasaki, the wife of Lecter's uncle and the woman responsible for creating Hannibal into such a twisted gourmet.
Which brings me to our recipes . . . . . .
NEW WAYS OF LOOKING AT TRIPE
'The Tripe Artist' - Pinar Yolacan
The 23-year-old design student turned artist makes clothing out of tripe. website
1. Trippa alla Siciliana
This is a rich Sicilian way of preparing tripe, with veal, cheese, and more.
* 1 3/4 pound (800 g) tripe, diced
* 2 ounces (50 g) lard or guanciale (air dried pig's cheek)
* 1 onion
* 3 plum tomatoes and 2 cloves garlic
* 2 eggplants, sliced and fried
* 1/2 pound (200 g) ground veal or beef cooked in sauce (see recipe below)
* 2 ounces (50 g) grated seasoned caciocavallo cheese
* 1/4 pound (100 g) fresh primosale (extremely fresh pecorino)
* A small bunch parsley, minced
* 2 cloves, ground
* A pinch ground cinnamon
* 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced and 1 fresh egg
* 1/3 cup olive oil
* Salt & pepper to taste
Sauté the onion in the lard until lightly browned in an ovenproof pot. Add tomatoes and garlic, together with the tripe, a few drops of oil, salt, pepper, parsley, and the spices (cinnamon and cloves, to taste). Stir well to combine and remove from the fire when all is heated through. Pour the contents of the pot into a bowl. Don't wash the pot, but rather refill it, layering it with the eggplant, the tripe, and then the ground meat; dust the meat with some grated caciocavallo (don't put all of it into the filling, however) and cover with a few slices of primo sale, then repeat with more layers until all is used up. Sprinkle the oil over the top and spread the hard boiled eggs over it too. Lightly beat the fresh egg and mix the remaining caciocavallo into it, together with salt, pepper, and a little more parsley. Spread this mixture over the top and bake in the oven (400 F, 200 C) until it is nicely browned.
* 1/2 pound (500 g) ground beef or veal
* 1 onion, finely sliced
* 2/3 pound (300 g) plum tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped
* 1 tablespoon tomato paste
* 1/2 cup well aged dry red wine
* A piece of beef bone with marrow
* A small bunch parsley, minced
* The top of a basil plant (10-15 leaves)
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 3 bay leaves
* 1/2 pound (200 g) freshly shelled peas
* 1/2 teaspoon lard (or guanciale)
* 1/3 cup olive oil
Sauté the beef bone in the lard until the meat is done, and set it aside. Brown the ground meat in a few drops of oil and keep it warm. In a large pot, sauté the onion and the parsley; when the onion has browned lightly add the tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, bay leaves, and basil. Cook the mixture for about 15 minutes. Add the beef bone and the ground beef, season with salt and pepper to taste, and add enough water to cover the ground beef (the bone will likely stick up). Cover and simmer, adding the peas after an 1 1/2 hours, together with the sugar. Replace the cover and simmer for another half hour. Remove the bone, and use the beef in the tripe.
2. Polpette di
This dish is from 1694.
* 3/4 pound boiled tripe
* 1/4 pound lean prosciutto
* 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano
* 1 ounce beef marrow
* 2 eggs
* A small bunch parsley
* A pinch each of ground spices (substitute allspice) and nutmeg
* 2 tablespoons of a thick paste made with bread soaked in either broth or milk
* 2-3 tablespoons tomato sauce
Mince the tripe as fine as possible. Do the same with the prosciutto, the marrow, and the parsley, then stir in the eggs and the other ingredients, seasoning the mixture with salt. Divide the mixture into twelve to thirteen patties, which will be enough for four people, roll them in flour, and fry them in oil or lard. Now mince a scant quarter of a medium-sized onion and sauté it in 1/4 cup butter. Once the onion has browned, add the meat balls, and when they're heated through, sprinkle them with a couple tablespoons of tomato sauce. Cover the meat balls and simmer them for ten minutes, adding water if necessary and turning them once or twice. Dust them with grated cheese and serve them with their sauce. The original recipe also calls for raisins and pine nuts, but they can be omitted with no loss. Note: Raisins and pine nuts were common in Italian Renaissance cooking, and occur frequently in recipes from the 17th and 18th centuries as well. The combination is now in disfavor in the north, though it is still used in the south.
(Mexican tripe stew)
Every culture has great restorative stew of humble origin and ingredients. The Hungarians and other Central Europeans have their cabbage soup. The French have their potage St. Germain. The Greeks have their white bean soup and the Mexicans have their menudo. Menudo is a wonderfully aromatic soup made of tripe, hominy and chili, and is stewed for hours with garlic and other spices. the broth is rich, red, papery, and glistens with fat. It stimulates the senses, arms the insides, and clears the head. Menudo is served in big open bowls brought to the table steaming and fiery. It is usually eaten in the wee hours after a night out on the town and widely proclaimed to be an antidote for hangovers. Mexicans brag about menudo's goodness, about how the hot broth with its medicinal condiments, particularly the chili, replenishes vitamins A and C, soothes the stomach, and stimulates the gastric juices to overcome any loss of appetite. Unfortunately, unlike the enchilada, taco, and tamale, menudo has not become a part of the popular Tex-Mex cuisine. But wherever there's a Mexican community, there's menudo. A hearty tripe soup as it is prepared in the north of Mexico, this is especially recommended as a cure for hangovers. It is always made on New Year's morning.
1 calf's foot (about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
2 pounds honeycomb tripe
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
4 quarts of water
A comal or griddle
3 large chiles anchos
A spice grinder
A large chile poblano, peeled or 2 canned, peeled green chiles
1/2 cup canned hominy (1 pound) drained
Salt as necessary
1 scant teaspoon oregano
Have the butcher cut the calf's foot into four pieces. Cut the tripe into small squares. Put them into a large saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower the flame and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours, or until the tripe and foot are just tender but not too soft. Meanwhile, toast the chilies well. Slit them open and remove the seeds and veins from the chile poblano, cut it into strips, and add to the meat while it is cooking. Remove the pieces of calf's foot from the pen, and when they are cool enough to handle, strip off the fleshy parts. Chop them roughly and return them to the pan. Add hominy and continue cooking the menudo slowly, still uncovered, for another 2 hours. Add salt as necessary. Sprinkle with oregano and serve . This amount is sufficient for 7 or 8 people. It should be served in large, deep bowls with hot tortillas and small dishes of chopped chile serranos, finely chopped onion and wedges of lime for each person to help himself, along with Salsa de Tomate Verde Cruda to be eaten with tortillas.