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January 24th, 2004


Count Al Zheimers and The Forget-Me-Nots


"Let me say, with the risk of appearing ridiculous, that the true revolutionary is guided by strong feelings of love"
Che Guevara


Hi folks,


I was priviliged to be invited to be a tutor on guitar, mandolin, blues harp and songwriting, in five workshops, for the Turramurra Folk Camp last weekend. The Geelong Folk Music Club have put together one of the most profound and deeply musical family experiences in Australia, and in my experience, the world. There's is no way to explain in words what happens at this camp but it is unlike anything else going. The closest I can come to describe it is a combination of Appalachian extended family music gatherings, JS Bach sitting around in the evenings playing quod libets with his children, the 'Oh Brother Where Art Thou' Big Band, a camp-out and a Talent Contest with No Judges. Everyone is allowed to perform, even kids as young as five years old. (The person preceding me at the Friday night Welcome concert was a 10 year old boy reciting a poem. The act preceding me on the Sunday farewell concert was a 25 piece African drum workshop.) The weekend workshops cover everything from the four instruments I was tutoring, to choral singing and percussion, tin whistle and ocarina, ochre painting and boomerang making and throwing (by an aboriginal elder), clog dancing, brass, accordion, even a wild country dance ( I call it 'Ho Down at the Ho House') on Saturday night at Dean's Marsh Hall in the local town, complete with square dance callers (anyone that feels like it can call a dance) and about 40 musicians on stage! You don't know how to square dance? - no worries - there's even a workshop for that in the afternoon before the dance, led by EmmA-Bee, aka 'Cloggin' Gal' - the closest thing to Daisy Mae Clampett I've seen around these herein parts! My guitar workshop (Count Al Zheimers and the Forget-Me-Nots, with the Children of the Night Chorus) performed a ripper version of 'Thriller/Gloria' at the final showdown. Highly recommended but get in early next year as it sells out almost immediately.
(Further information: Geelong Folk Music Club, PO Box 269, Geelong, Victoria 3213 Australia.)

Favourite Porn Spam Subject Heading of the Week

Subject: Extend the Size of that Special Organ Every Man Has!

JS Bach would have probably even opened this email because:

'The first thing he did in trying out an organ was to draw out all the stops and to play with the full organ. He used to say in jest that he must first of all know whether the instrument had good lungs. He then proceeded to examine the single parts . . . . He cared in particular about the gravitas of the instrument, granted ideally by a new Untersatz, a thirty-two-foot stop, but he though of improving it also by changing the shallots and enlarging the resonators for the existing Posaune, a sixteen-foot reed stop. He proposed the exchange of the Gemshorn stop for 'a Violdigamba 8 foot, which would concord admirably with the 14-foot Salicional.' He then differentiated between pipe materials, requested 'good 14-ounze tin' for the three Principalia in the facade of 'the new little Brustpositiv,' and asked that the 'Stillgedackt 8' which accords perfectly with concerted music, 'be made of good wood' because that would sound 'much better than a metal Gedackt.' Christoph Wolff 'Johann Sebastian Bach - The Learned Musician


GM vs Microsoft

At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with the technology like the computer industry has we would all be driving $25.00 cars that travelled 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, GM issued a press release stating "If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving vehicles with the following characteristics:

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.
2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road you would have to buy a new car.
3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason, you would have to pull over to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. And for some reason you would simply accept this.
4. Occasionally, executing a manouever such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.
5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads.
6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This car has performed and illegal operation" warning light.
7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.
8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.
9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.
10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.
(thanks to rupert guenther)


Would You Like Chips With That?

" A company called Applied Digital Solutions wants you to undergo a surgical procedure to implant a tiny RFID microchip in your arm. Why would you want to do this? Because "Radio Frequency ID" chips will eliminate the heavy burden of having to carry credit cards and remember your ATM numbers. . ."(article)


Mel Gibson's Passion

"An article about the film in The New Yorker magazine last September indicated Gibson would keep a biblical verse out that upsets Jews and has been used to justify anti-Semitism: `His blood be on us and on our children!'' (Matthew 27:25). That verse was not included in a version of the film The Associated Press saw last month.

But Rabbi James Rudin, a longtime interfaith expert for the American Jewish Committee, a New York-based public policy group, Rabbi David Elcott, the organization's director of interreligious affairs, and Foxman all said the verse was now in the film. The movie is scheduled to be released on Ash Wednesday.

`It's very disturbing that that was added,'' Rudin said. `It's not just another verse from the Gospels. It's a chilling verse because I know, and everyone knows, that that verse is the basis of blood libel.'' (full article)

Pope: No Comment on Mel

"John Paul was said to have given his approval after a screening in his apartment in early December by saying, `It is as it was.'' The quote received widespread publication around the world. Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, secretary to John Paul throughout his 25-year papacy, confirmed the pope had seen the film. `But I told the producers the Holy Father did not make any judgment, because he does not make judgments of that kind,'' Dziwisz told The Associated Press. `He said nothing of the kind.'' (article)


Israeli Ambassador Destroys Art Exhibit

(YellowTimes.org) -- Controversial art exhibits are commonplace these days, and rarely create the uproar they once did. What is uncommon, however, is outright vandalism by patrons while the exhibit is still on display, let alone vandalism by an official diplomat. Such was the case this past week when Israel's ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel, took it upon himself to destroy an exposition entitled 'Snow White and the Madness of Truth' at Stockholm's Museum of National Antiquities.

This exhibit, created by Israeli-born expatriate Dror Feiler, depicts a small boat carrying the picture of Palestinian female suicide bomber Hanadi Jaradat floating in a pool of red water representing blood. Ambassador Mazel is caught on videotape tearing down a spotlight from the museum and throwing it at the display, which he decried as "anti-Semitic" -- despite being created by a Jew to call attention to how "weak, lonely people can be capable of horrible things." Mazel received the full support and praise of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for his actions. (full article)


Sean Penn's Second Visit and Report from Iraq

" . . .U.S. soldiers today are not what you'd picture if you grew up on World War II movies. Think younger. . . .Now add zits (some of them). . . And access to e-mail. This is not the war of yesteryear, with relatives waving our boys off on ships and losing all contact beyond a weekly mail drop. These are young people who, via the Internet, are reminded daily of the comfort and safety of home and are quick to express their desire to return to their families. (full report)


State of the 'Vision Thing'
by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

" . . .a vision per se is not necessarily a good thing. Adolf Hitler had a vision. Josef Stalin had a vision. Especially when visions harden into dogmatic ideologies, they become inhuman, cruel and dangerous. Bush the elder was generally held to have a vision deficit, but that's not the same as having a defective vision. Bush the elder was a moderate as president, and he did not harm the republic.

Bush the younger is another matter. In his State of the Union address, he presented a medley of visions. Is it reasonable to suppose that the son feels that his father committed two fatal errors, which he is determined not to repeat? One might be the folly of alienating the ideological right. The other - the absence of a vision. (full article)


The State of the Union Drinking Game

The address, as always, will be divided into two parts: "The War On and
Around Terrorism" and "The Economy, Stupid." The rules vary depending on
the subject Bush is tackling, so pay attention:

1) The War

- Whenever the President says "evil," everyone must raise their glass
and take a drink. It's good form to make a brief toast of sorts,
something like "Down with evil!" or "Evil is bad!" "Evil" should be
pronounced with a soft "i" ["Evihl"].

- Whenever the President utters the phrase "weapons of mass
destruction," everyone drinks. Before downing the drink, however,
everyone must affect a cartoony Evil Arab voice and say things like
"Quick, hide the weapons!" and "They'll never find 'em here!"

- At any point during the War portion of the speech, any player may
assume the role of Rogue Nation - exclaiming "Yikes!" and then ducking
and cowering. Everyone else must follow suit immediately. The last
player to do so becomes the Next Pre-empted Nation, who is then obliged
to take a drink.*

- If the President mentions the name "Osama bin Laden," immediately go
to your computer and access a travel website like "Orbitz" or
"Travelocity." Book the new weekend special getaway that will have
appeared, a discount ski trip in Hell.

2) The Economy

- Every time the President makes mention of a spending package totaling
$1 billion or more, everyone must raise their glass, exclaim "What
deficit?" and take a good, hearty sip.

- During the Domestic portion of the speech, keep your eyes peeled. At
any time, anyone can choose to silently extend their hand forward, palm
up, to receive a Corporate Handout. When you see someone do this, you
must do so as well (thus becoming one of "The Rich"). The last person to
extend their hand becomes "The Bottom 90%" and must drink, while
everyone else yells things like "Who let him in?!" and "Get a job!" and
"You'd be pulling your own weight if you didn't drink so much!"

- Whenever the President makes mention of "tax cuts" or "tax breaks" or
"tax relief" (new or old), pump your fist in glee and exclaim "Yes!"
Hold the pose. The last person to do this automatically becomes The
Future, the living embodiment of generations yet to come. All the other
players must then take The Future's drink and pass it between them,
taking large sips. During this, The Future should protest weakly, saying
things like "Whoa, easy there," and "Hey, leave me something, huh?" This
continues until The Future's drink is empty.

No matter how dangerously drunk the Pre-empted Nation becomes, nobody
is permitted to suggest that they be given a break. Anyone who does so
immediately becomes "France," and is obliged to finish their own drink
while being ridiculed by the other players.
(thanks to JF Stover)


"In many ways, a U.S.- U.K. alliance is natural. It was, after all, residents of the monarchical island nation that settled in North America and began a new country and created the political body that would become the United States; there obviously exists a shared language and history, as well as a philosophical vision -- but there are also strategic reasons for both parties involved.

For Washington, a close relationship with the U.K. gives the U.S. leadership influence in shaping European politics, especially those that revolve around the growth, strength, and ambitions of the European Union. Other European countries, such as France, envisage a bolder, economically surging European Union as a Eurasian counterweight to U.S. economic, military and cultural hegemony. Washington wants to nip this attitude in the bud and demonstrate to all doubters, whether they be critical countries on the United Nations Security Council or tiny, fledgling states, that in the coming decades it will be more prosperous to concede to U.S. desires in world affairs than to conspicuously resist. . ." (full article)


An Ethicist Strips off Bush's Moral Veneer
by Tom Brazaitis

With the Democratic presidential nominating process starting at Monday's Iowa caucuses, the question being asked is, which of these nine candidates, if any, could beat President George W. Bush in November?

Wrong question.

In a presidential election with an incumbent running, the first question voters should be asking is whether the man who holds the job merits a second term. (article)

Resistance to Patriot Act Gaining Ground
by Thanassis Cambanis

More than two centuries ago, the patriots of Brewster shut down the Colonial courts on Cape Cod in one of the first acts of resistance against the tyrannical rule of King George III. Now, deliberately evoking its Revolutionary history, Brewster Town Meeting has formally condemned the anti-terrorist USA Patriot Act, united against the laws of a different leader named George. (article)

(thanks to John Jacobs.)

Corporations Need Treatment
by Stephen Leahy
TORONTO - Corporations are not only the most powerful institutions in the world, they are also psychopathic, a new Canadian documentary on globalization elegantly argues.

While the corporation has the rights and responsibilities of "a legal person", its owners and shareholders are not liable for its actions. Moreover, the film explains, a corporation's directors are legally required to do what is best for the company, regardless of the harm created.

What kind of person would a corporation be? A clinical psychopath, answers the documentary, which is now playing in four Canadian theatres. (article)


The Clown Chakra

The Clown scientists have found that all our problems can be placed
under one heading: Seriousness. Seriousness is the leading cause of
everything from Cancer to Reincarnation. Scientists from the Clown Academy
have already discovered a new source of healing. It is a psychic energy
point located between the heart chakra and the throat chakra. It is
called the clown chakra.

If people are feeling miserable; if they have financial problems; if
their relationship situation is the pits; if they are in ill health; if
they have a need to sue people; if they find fault with their brother;
then obviously their clown chakra is closed. When this happens, the
scientists have observed under a high-powered microscope that the cells of
every organ display a sad face; and when the clown chakra is open and
functioning normally, the cells display a happy face.

The scientists realized that if a person is ill, it is because his
mind has projected guilt onto the cells of his body and has forced out the
love that is normally found within each cell of the body. The cells are
therefore saying, "I Lack Love", or ILL for short.

When the clown chakra is opened and working (or rather, playing)
properly, the psychic mechanism sucks up misery, pain, anger, resentment,
grievances, unhappiness and so on, and converts the energy into tiny red
heart-shaped balloons.

The red heart balloons contain God's Love and Joy. These balloons are
directed to the "dis-eased" cell or situation, and a happy face appears
instantly. When the light enters the darkness, the darkness is gone.

Sometimes these red heart balloons are called endorphins, due to the
fact that when anyone experiences them the feeling of separation ends -
they experience being 'back home' and hence are no longer an orphan. This is the well known "end orphan" (endorphin) effect.

So if you think someone is attacking you, Clown Scientists recommend
that you visualize sending that person red heart shaped balloons filled
with Love and Joy.

Remember to keep your clown chakra open and remember to laugh -

seriousness causes reincarnation.
(thanks to sahyma)


Blonde Detectives

A policeman interrogates three blondes who are training to become detectives. To test their skills in recognizing a suspect, he shows the first blonde a picture for five seconds and then hides it. "This is your suspect, how would you recognize him?"

The first blonde answers, "That's easy, we'll catch him fast because he only has one eye!"

The policeman says, "Well, duh, thats because the picture only shows his profile."

Slightly flustered by this ridiculous response, he flashes the picture for five seconds at the second blonde and asks her, "This is your suspect, how would you recognize him?"

The second blonde giggles, flips her hair and says, "Ha! He'd be too easy to catch because he only has one ear!"

The policeman angrily responds, "What's the matter with you two?! Of course only one eye and one ear are showing because it's a picture of his profile! Is that the best answer you can come up with?"

Extremely frustrated at this point, he shows the picture to the third blonde and in a very testy voice asks, "This is your suspect, how would you recognize him?" He quickly adds, "Think hard before giving me a stupid answer."

The blonde looks at the picture intently for a moment and says, "Hmm - the suspect wears contact lenses."

The policeman is surprised and speechless because he really doesn't know if the suspect wears contacts or not. "Well, that's an interesting answer. Wait here for a few minutes while I check his file."

He leaves the room and goes to his office, checks the suspects file in his computer, and comes back with a beaming smile on his face. "Wow! I cant believe it. It's true! The suspect does in fact wear contact lenses. Good work! How were you able to make such an astute observation?"

"That's easy," the blonde replied. "He can't wear regular glasses because he only has one eye and one ear." (boom boom!)

'Mad' Cow Brains

This dish is traced back to a time when southern Indiana newcomers from Germany and Holland wasted little. Some local families have their own recipes passed down over the generations. (Reputed to be a favourite of George W.)

1 cow brain (mad or not mad, depending upon what's handy.)
1 egg
seasoned flour
bread or cracker crumbs
oil for frying

Method in the Madness:
Dip the brains in flour, then in egg, then in crumbs. Fry in hot oil.
The brains puff up when cooked. They are served hot, heaping outside a hamburger bun.

Yummy Picture! (Mooooo!)

(Note: Serve with Parcht Locusts.)


" The Republican form of government is the highest form of government: but because of this it requires the highest type of human nature, a type nowhere at present existing. "
Herbert Spencer

2004 Index, NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES,Welcome Page