Last week's rave on the Old and New Testament must have got up a lot of people's noses as I had more requests for Newsletter Removal than I have for months. Mostly from the USA. Figures. Highest percentage of religious nutcases per square cubit. Next to India. Or the Middle East. Or Australia. Or Painesville, Ohio. These lost sheep obviously must not know who I am - the man who inspired: ' Heaven's The Place' (Shaddap You Face - Christian Version:)
For the faithful who plan to remain here with me after THE RUPTURE, I have included 'God's Survey' down yonder which I hope everyone will take a minute to fill out so they can see where they're at with this whole spiritual ball of wax.
Well, on the personal front, I'm just winding down from a seven day juice fast, breaking it over three days with fruit in the daytime and soups in the evening, in preparation for some shows at the Illawarra Folk Festival. Fasting is disciplined enough at home but practically impossible on the road. I don't know if anyone is familar with juice fasting but I recommend it to anyone once a year at least. Gandhi fasted every Monday. Probably how he maintained that Twiggy look. Over the last week, I lost six kgs. (That's a small pork roast!) Now I can wear all my thin clothes again. (I keep them all in a special drawer - does anyone else do this?) It must be hard for some of you to imagine me fasting, with my love of cooking. But, believe it or not, hunger totally disappears after the third day. And it's about a lot more than just not eating. It's also about breaking psychological habits. Picking. Nervous eating. Nervous activity. Opening the fridge and staring into it mindlessly as though it were the television. Turning on the television and staring at it, while moving your lips, like a lamb at a teat as though it's supposed to nourish you. Putting things in your mouth without thinking. Putting things into your head without thinking. And all those things we use food (and thoughts) for other than what they're supposed to be for. For instance, after the fifth day, I wrote a creative song based around a saying by the 13 century Kashmiri mystic, Lalla, who walked around naked all day - (probably looking for something to eat.) Effortless writing, too. Everything was so clear.
Juice fasting was also the primary way that
I quit smoking many years ago. It took two one-week fasts and
a two-week fast over the course of a year to finally detach that
particular nicotine succubus, along with a couple of other techniques
such as a simple breathing meditation technique I learned from
Thich Nacht Han, and also by clearly defining the BENEFIT I was
getting from the Tobacco God. Oh, it's easy to identify why smoking
is bad for you and why you shouldn't do it, but just knowing that
won't help you quit. Everyone likes doing the bad things anyway.
It's much harder to say why smoking is GOOD for you. In my view,
this is the KEY to overcoming any addiction. Once you know what
the real benefits are that you are receiving, then you start automatically
looking for substitute benefits that won't kill you.
If anyone is interested, the book that taught me twenty years ago how to do a juice fast properly was:
'Are You Confused? by Paavo Airola (article)
Favourite Reader Comments of the Week
You have WAY too much time on your hands!! Missy
(Note: Missy, just think of me as your personal sundial.)
thanks for the newsletter someone out there signed me up for. i just sat down to write an e-mail to my Christian Right, fundamentalist parents regarding a newsletter my father sent to the congregants of the Baptist church he pastors in which he describes his recent Christmas visit with me and my wife and kids here. He accidentally sent it to us as well and none of us are too happy about being demonized. Here's the first sentence:
"It was a long and difficult and painful trip into a spiritual wasteland, but surely God can bring some good out of the ordeal."
The wasteland he refers to is my home, a place
where even my teenagers enjoy hanging out in and discussing ANYTHING
with my wife and I; so different from the emotional and physically
punitive environment I grew up in. So it cheered me up to read
your take on Revelations, which is certainly on my father's top-ten.
We enjoy living here where there is less religious dogma which
politicians and even the general public use to excuse their arrogance,
ignorance and bigotries in America. Sadly, Australian politicians
are watching with cynical eyes the vast power which the Right
in America can harnass through the use of Bible Bashing Bigotry
so now we are blessed with Family First, an outspoken Christian
Tony Abbott and a pasty-faced Peter Costello smiling smugly and
rolling his eyes back in rapture while clasping hands with the
CEO's of Hillsong Churches, Ltd.
I also was glad to read someone other than myself FINALLY mentioning the almost completely muted response of the Australian music community to the illegal invasion of Iraq, the racial and cultural divisions the government is working so hard to create, the destruction of the right to free speech (sedition? surely there's a song in there somewhere!) and the destruction of workers rights (Woody Guthrie where are you now?). Recently a band I was producing had an idea for a name for their album that was both humorous and sarcastic towards the Establishment (yes kids, the Establishment still exists, you just don't recognize it because you have become that very thing). The record company refused to approve it. When pointed out that there was a Melbourne band in the early-seventies that had a similarly themed album title and did EXTREMELY well commercially, the record company replied. "That was then, this is now." Ain't that the truth! Keep up the good work and the good humour Joe! Best Regards, J.B.
(Note: J.B. Your father's profound observation about Australia reminds me of a mix of my father's observation about The Beatles the first time he saw them on the Ed Sullivan Show, 'Joe, they'll last a week," and something Henry Youngman once said to a heckler, 'If God can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, he can make something out of you.')
Before I start - I'm a huge admirer of your work (and no, not just for "Shaddap You Face"! Now that's out of the way, I was wondering if you could help solve the following conundrum: In the theme song to the show Sesame Street, the characters sing the question:
"Can you tell me how to get / how to get to Sesame Street?" However, they never actually divulge an answer. To the best of your knowledge, how DO you get to Sesame Street? Thank you for your time, and keep up the great work! Alastair
(Note: Alastair, naturally I assume you aren't taking the piss so here is the answer to your enquiry:
Sesame Street is located in Bear Valley, Ketchikan, on the western coast of Revillagigedo Island, near the southernmost boundary of ALASKA. It is 235 miles south of Juneau. The 2.2 million acre Misty Fiords National Monument lies 22 air miles east of Ketchikan. It is the first Alaska port of call for northbound cruise ships and State ferries. The city of Bear Valley encompasses 3 square miles of land and 1 square miles of water. The borough encompasses 1,220 square miles of land and 524 square miles of water. The latitude is 55° 20' 57", and the longitude is 131° 38' 42". The ground elevation is 330 meters and is suburban and residential. Drop me a postcard, Al. Take a jumper.
Re: Paul Kelly and 'Tonight Our Fires' Discussion (last week's newsletter)
In defence of Paul, you don't do your best work when commissioned to write about something. The creative process works best when you come to writng a lyric in your own time. 'Tis hard to write on demand. And I reckon collaborating on a lyric never delivers your best work either because you have to say yes to including the other persons ideas (and they with you) that might not be how you'd approach the subject matter, or they may have a totally different sense of what constitutes a good metaphor, whats an appropriate rhyme, let alone views about the subject matter etc. And I can hardly imagine it was his decision to link that song to a sporting occasion (as he said).
Having said that Paul should be able to handle a bit of criticism I guess. He has escaped his share over the years. His worst songs don't cop the barbs that everyone else cops . . Mind you someone mentioned Nick Cave. Interesting that it came up in the letter where you wrote about the Old testament. Regards, David Bridie
ps. Joe, how about writing about West Papua. Now is the time. I cant recall West Papua being on the front page of the newspapers here. Australians for years have not been able to connect with how close West Papua is to our continent, nor how similar the situation is there to East Timor. 30 people breaking through our impregnable defence in a dug out canoe is a great metaphor for how close their land is to ours and the desperation in which they undertook that trip. You don't risk your life unless your life is at risk in the first place. There has been a continued military build up in the province since presidium leader Chief Theys Eluay was assassinated in Nov 2001 and even more so since the withdrawal of the military from Aceh. I'll send on the New York times article on the freeport mine for you to peruse. Its very revealing. (Note: I've included David's links to the stories about the massive Freeport gold mining outrage in West Papua further down below.)
FAVOURITE 'REVIEW' OF THE WEEK
RE: FrankenChrist, Unravelation and The Rupture - Jan 20th Newsletter
"And now my usual Joe Dolce "fix". This time it is Joe himself, and golly he is cooking on gas, alright! There are moments here when you wonder if some of Hunter S. Thompson's spirit hasn't lodged in Joe's soul: for sure he writes with the same wondrous energy that Thompson could summon up. Or my long-time hero, the great Henry Miller. " Dai Woosnam, The UK Bumper Bundle
God would like to thank you for your belief and patronage. In order to better serve your needs, God asks that you take a few moments to answer the following questions. Please keep in mind that your responses will be kept completely confidential, and that you need not disclose your name or address unless you prefer a direct response to comments or suggestions.
1. How did you find out about God?
___ New Testament
___ Book of Mormon
___ Other book
___ Divine inspiration
___ Word of mouth
___ Dead Sea scrolls
___ My Mama
___ Near-death experience
___ Near-life experience
___ National Public Radio
___ Burning shrubbery
___ Other (specify): _____________
2. Which model God did you acquire?
___ God of Israel
___ Higher power
___ Just plain God
___ Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Trinity Pack)
___ Zeus and entourage (Olympus Pack)
___ Odin and entourage (Valhalla Pack)
___ Gaia/Mother Earth/Mother Nature
___ None of the above; I was taken in by a false god
3. Did your God come to you undamaged, with all parts in good working order and with no obvious breakage or missing attributes? __ Yes __ No
If no, please describe the problems you initially
Please indicate all that apply:
___ Not eternal
___ Not omniscient
___ Not omnipotent
___ His will conflicts with my will
___ Finite in space/does not occupy or inhabit the entire universe
___ Permits sex outside of marriage
___ Prohibits sex outside of marriage
___ Makes mistakes (e.g., Geraldo Rivera, Jesse Helms)
___ When beseeched, doesn't stay beseeched
___ Requires burnt offerings
___ Requires virgin sacrifices
___ Plays dice with the universe
4. What factors were relevant in your decision
to acquire a God?
Please check all that apply.
___ Indoctrinated by parents
___ Needed a reason to live
___ Indoctrinated by society
___ Needed target for rage
___ Imaginary friend grew up
___ Hate to think for self
___ Wanted to meet girls/boys
___ Fear of death
___ To tick off parents
___ Needed a day away from work
___ Enjoy organ music
___ Needed focus on whom to despise
___ Needed to feel morally superior
___ Graduated from the tooth fairy
___ My shrubbery caught fire and told me to do it
5. Are you currently using any other source
of inspiration in addition to God?
Please check all that apply:
__ Self-help books
__ Tarot, astrology
__ Star Trek reruns
__ Fortune cookies
__ Annie's Mailbox
__ Psychic Friends Network
__ Playboy and/or Playgirl
__ Sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll
__ Jimmy Swaggart
__ Crystals (not including Crystal Gayle)
__ Human Sacrifice
__ Wandering around in desert
__ Burning shrubbery
6. Have you ever worshiped a false God before?
If so, which false God were you fooled by?
Please check all that apply:
___ The almighty dollar
___ The conservative right
___ Eric Clapton
___ Bill Gates
___ The Great Pumpkin
___ Ronald Reagan
___ A burning cabbage
___ Other: ________________
7. God employs a limited degree of Divine Intervention
to preserve the balanced level of felt presence and blind faith.
Which would you prefer:
___ More divine intervention
___ Less divine intervention
___ Current level of divine intervention is just right
___ Don't know - what's divine intervention?
8. God also attempts to maintain a balanced
level of disasters and miracles. Please rate on a scale of 1 to
5 God's handling of the following:
( 1= unsatisfactory, 5=excellent):
1 2 3 4 5 Flood
1 2 3 4 5 Famine
1 2 3 4 5 Earthquake
1 2 3 4 5 War
1 2 3 4 5 Pestilence
1 2 3 4 5 Plague
1 2 3 4 5 AOL
1 2 3 4 5 Republican Congress
1 2 3 4 5 Jerry Lewis
1 2 3 4 5 Dubya
1 2 3 4 5 My last relationship
1 2 3 4 5 Rescues
1 2 3 4 5 Spontaneous remissions
1 2 3 4 5 Crying statues
1 2 3 4 5 Water changing to wine
1 2 3 4 5 Walking on water
1 2 3 4 5 Stars hovering over towns
1 2 3 4 5 VCRs that set their own clocks
1 2 3 4 5 Clear and competent statements by the President
1 2 3 4 5 My present relationship
9. Please rate the following on a scale of
1 to 5
1 2 3 4 5 God's courtesy
1 2 3 4 5 Answers to your prayers
1 2 3 4 5 Are your spiritual needs being met?
1 2 3 4 5 How are your shrubs doing?
10. Do you have any additional comments or
suggestions for improving the quality of God's services?
(thanks to Steve Reinthal)
In last week's edition of the newsletter, the Madonna impersonator I linked you to was La Terremoto de Alcorcón from Spain. If you liked that, listen to her great take on Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' in Espanol: (.mp3)
by Cindy Sheehan
" Much as I wish I could take credit for the word "matriotism," another woman wrote to me and gave me the concept. I was so intrigued by the word that I have been meditating on the possible ideology behind it, and a new paradigm for true and lasting peace in the world. " (article)
(Note: It's fascinating to read Cindy Sheehan's idea
of what 'matriotism' is. Five years ago I wrote a song called
'Matriot.' Here are my Lyrics
and my ideas. We are definitely on the same page.)
TLC TUGGER - The Real Conehead - Circumcision
Improving the World - One Penis at a Time
Our tapeless YOUR-SKIN Restoration Cone (patent pending) helps you keep your own skin in a covering position. Wear it discreetly under briefs during the day, and to bed at night. (site) (Note: See? I told you last week it was given unto me!)
Freeport vs West Papua
Below a Mountain of Wealth, a River of Waste
By Jane Perlez and Raymond Bonner
New York Times
Jakarta, Indonesia - The closest most people
will ever get to remote Papua, or the operations of Freeport-McMoRan,
is a computer tour using Google Earth to swoop down over the rain
forests and glacier-capped mountains where the American company
mines the world's largest gold reserve. With a few taps on a keyboard,
satellite images quickly reveal the deepening spiral that Freeport
has bored out of its Grasberg mine as it pursues a virtually bottomless
store of gold hidden inside. They also show a spreading soot-colored
bruise of almost a billion tons of mine waste that the New Orleans-based
company has dumped directly into a jungle river of what had been
one of the world's last untouched landscapes.
What is far harder to discern is the intricate web of political and military ties that have helped shield Freeport from the rising pressures that other gold miners have faced to clean up their practices. Only lightly touched by a scant regulatory regime, and cloaked in the protection of the military, Freeport has managed to maintain a nearly impenetrable redoubt on the easternmost Indonesian province as it taps one of the country's richest assets. (full article)
* N.Y. Times takes on Freeport McMoRan By: Dorothy Kosich (article)
Recklessness in Indonesia
New York Times Editorial
January 9, 2006
Freeport-McMoRan, an American company that
operates a giant open-pit copper and gold mine in Papua, is a
major contributor to Indonesia's economy. The company is also
one of Indonesia's most reckless polluters and a source of hard
cash - cash the company concedes is protection money - for the
Indonesian military, which has one of the worst human rights records
A recent report in The Times by Jane Perlez and Raymond Bonner described Freeport's activities in great detail. The report was part of a series of articles over the past year detailing environmental and other abuses by American mining companies at home and abroad.
Several of these companies are being sued by local governments that argue that these companies' environmental practices would never be tolerated in America and that local citizens are seeing too few of mining's benefits while paying too heavy a price. Newmont Mining, based in Denver, has been sued by the Indonesian government for dumping poisoned wastes in local waters, and Placer Dome, based in Canada, has been sued by a Philippine province for similar infractions.
Freeport's activities are particularly disheartening. Over the past decade, the company has built what amounts to an industrial city in Indonesia's easternmost province. On the plus side, the company provides jobs for 18,000 people and, according to company estimates, has provided Indonesia with $33 billion in direct and indirect benefits from 1992 to 2004, almost 2 percent of the country's gross domestic product.
The environmental damage, however, has been breathtaking. So far, the company has produced about one billion tons of waste, with five billion more tons to come before the operation shuts down. Some of this waste has been dumped into the mountains surrounding the mine, and some into a system of rivers that descend steeply into the island's low-lying wetlands and coastal estuaries. The damage has been enough to render the rivers, wetlands and parts of the estuaries - all critical to the food chain - unsuitable for aquatic life.
Meanwhile, records show that between 1998 and 2004, Freeport gave officers in the police and military nearly $20 million in direct payments in addition to tens of millions more for military infrastructure like barracks and roads. The company told The Times that the payments were necessary to provide a secure working environment for its employees, and that "there is no alternative to our reliance on the Indonesian military and police." (full article)
* Government warns Freeport to stop polluting river Arie Rukmantara The Jakarta Post, Jakarta (article)
* INDONESIA: Military admits receiving payments from mining company ABC Radio Australia Asia/Pacific program 2 January 2006 (article)
Paddy had been drinking at his local Dublin
pub all day and most of the night.
"You'll not be drinking anymore tonight, Paddy," said Mick, the barman.
"OK Mick, I'll be on my way den," replied Paddy.
Paddy spun around on his stool, stepped off, and fell flat on his face.
"Shoite," he said, pulled himself up by the stool and dusted himself off. He took a step towards the door and fell flat on his face again.
"Shoite, Shoite!" he cried.
He looked at the doorway and thought to himself that if he could just get to the door and some fresh air he'd be fine. Belly crawling to the door and shimmying up to the door frame, he stuck his head outside and took a deep breath of fresh air. Feeling much better, he took a step out onto the pavement and fell flat on his face.
"Bejesus . . . I'm fockin' focked," said he.
He saw his house just a few doors down, crawled to the door, shimmied up the door frame, opened the door and collapsed inside.
"No fockin' way," he said, looking up at the stairs.
But slowly he dragged himself up the stairs to his bedroom door and said, " If I can just make it to the bed."
He pulled himself up by the door frame, took a step into the room and fell flat on his face again.
"Fock this, I gotta stop drinking," He said and collapsed onto the bed.
The next morning, his wife Jess, came
into the room carrying a cup of coffee.
"Get up Paddy. Did you have a bit to drink last night?"
"I did Jess, I did. I was fockin' pissed," said Paddy. "How did you know?"
"Mick the barman phoned . . . You left your wheelchair at the pub again."
(thanks to Ian Moss)
Report: IAF trained for Iran attack
IAF pilots have completed their mission training and fighter jets have been prepared for an Israeli attack on Iran, the British Sunday Times reported. The article reported that "the elite 69 strategic F-15 I squadron" had been equipped with weapons that will be tested in combat for the first time, and that two missile submarines were on standby: one in the Persian Gulf and the second in Haifa Bay. The Times also said that special IDF forces would be helicoptered into Iran to take out targets that could not be destroyed in an air strike. (article)
A Living Will
A man and his wife were sitting in the living
room and he said to her,
" Just so you know, I never want to live in a vegetative state,
dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle.
If that ever happens, just pull the plug."
So his wife got up, unplugged the TV and threw
out his beer.
(thanks to Jim Testa)
Black Jesus Film Makes Waves at Sundance
By Rebecca Harrison
JOHANNESBURG (Jan. 19) - Billed as the world's first black Jesus movie, "Son of Man" portrays Christ as a modern African revolutionary and aims to shatter the Western image of a placid savior with fair hair and blue eyes. (article)
(or . . . The Art of Eating Vegetarians)
Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats,
and that's it... don't
waste them on exercise. Everything wears out evntually. Speeding up
your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can
extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer?
Take a nap.
Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies.
What does a cow eat? Hay and
corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an
efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain?
Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy
vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily
allowance of vegetable products.
Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit.
Brandy is distilled wine,
that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even
more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain.
Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting
a little soft around the
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle,
it gets bigger. You
should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.
Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO . Cocoa beans! Another
vegetable!!! It's the
best feel-good food around!
Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.
Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions
you may have had
about food and diets.
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave
with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other -
body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming: " Whoo! What a
(thanks to Sahyma)
BRUSSEL SPROUTS, GREEN AND RED CABBAGE CURRY
These brasicas compliment each other well. (serves 2-3)
1/4 GREEN CABBAGE, washed and sliced
1/4 RED CABBAGE, washed and sliced
2 cups BRUSSEL SPROUTS, washed and quartered
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 tbles black mustard seeds
1 tbles turmeric powder, or chopped fresh turmeric root
5 tbles curry leaves
2 tbles freshly ground coriander
1 tbles freshly ground cumin power
1/2 teas red chilli flakes (or fresh red chilli)
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped finely
salt and black pepper
Heat ghee in pan. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the chilli flakes (or fresh chilli) and the onions and sauté a couple minutes until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for one minute. Add the ground spices and fry for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and Brussels sprouts and stir until they are coated in the spices and bright yellow. Add about half cup of water. Bring to the boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer on low heat and cook until Brussels sprouts are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir once during cooking. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Wash 1 cup of rice. Add it to 2 cups of water in a pan, and let stand for 30 minutes. Bring the rice to a boil, cover, reduce to very low and cook for approx. 15 minutes. Check to see if the rice is tender. If so, turn off the heat and let set for another ten minutes.
Sweet mango chutney
Hot lime pickle, with oil.
Yoghurt with fresh banana slices cut into it.