It's Official. I'm Dinky Di. Offically 'G'day Mate'. A Bonzer and Bobby-Dazzling You Beaut Shrimp-on-the-Barbie 'you can tell by the way I walk, I'm a Wapiti Elk, no need to talk' .
Now they can't kick me out.
I led the Australian National Anthem (on National Steel Guitar!) at the citizenship ceremony, at the Melbourne Zoo, (how appropriate - and beautiful, too!) and in one of the most unusual introductions I've ever had, Mr John Williams introduced me by saying, 'I 'd like to present a person well known to all Australians. . . .' then he paused and looked down at me in the first row , ' . .er, you ARE well known aren't you? Or else, you used to be well-known . . . anyway, your song is well-known .'
Friends, that's what is known as a Reality Cheque ( paid in Australian dollars and don't-cash-it-until-next-Wednesday.)
I'm an Aussie I am. Now I have to be extra careful about Aussification because:
Australian Dinky-Di Dictionary Entry: Aus·si·fy
Inflected Form(s): -fied; -fy·ing
Etymology: Latin auss-, os + English -ify
1 : to change into bonehead
2 : to become hardened or conventional and opposed to change
1 : to change (as meatpie) into bonehead
2 : to make rigidly conventional and opposed to change, and unable to acknowledge error (especially concerning crocodiles and ankle-biters, Iraq and WMD spin from unnamed US presidents - oh what the . . . let's go ahead and NAME him one time: - Sir Lord Generalissimo Life President Royal Lowness Divine Wind His Most Royally Unexcellency George W. 'Dubya' Shrub Bonsai Bug-infested Twig and Weed Patch White-Ant Riddled Wood Pecker Head Bush Junior.
The Aussie dollar (hereafter referred to as
$A) is now worth about 77 cents to the US dollar and getting stronger.
When I first came to Australia in 1979, the $A was worth $1.16
to the US dollar. I remember one of my early royalty checks from
the US was $US 12,000.00 but I only got $A 10,000.00 after conversion.
What a bummer, I thought back then. Hard to believe that just
last year, the $A was down as low as 47 cents. I thought we were
definely headed for banana republic-ville for awhile. (I should
have been buying $A instead of stockpiling all those bananas.
Story of my life.)
Anyway, the $A is strengthening these days, and with the current escalating budget deficit in the US, Australia will soon be in a position to give Financial Aid to America - but, of course, first the US would have to prove that it's gotten rid of all its Weapons of Mass Destruction. All those Nukes. And Chemical Weapons (the stockpiles of Agent Orange left over from Vietnam.) And the Biological Weapons (the 50 million tons of Mad Dubya Chicken Virus.)
My Favourite Reader Comment of the Week
Your newsletter continues to be a monthly revelation for me. The 'GM v Microsoft' bit made my month. Congratulations on your citizenship. Keep up the good work - fight the good fight
Peace & Love,
(Bobby gets a card from Uncle Joe on Valentine's
So now I'm both an Australian and an American Citizen. If, in the unlikely event, we ever go to war with each other, I could just shoot myself and be a double Patriot. (Now that's George Patton-style thinking at its best.)
" Isn't there something inherently unethical about being a dual citizen? I mean, how can you be a loyal American and at the same time owe allegiance to another country? "No man can serve two masters", and all that. "
A question of political philosophy. The fact remains that the US Supreme Court has ruled dual citizenship is legal -- and Congress has amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to reflect that reality -- and the State Department now finally appears to be at peace with the concept as well -- so it's now a firmly entrenched part of the law of the land. (more)
" The very idea of dual citizenship -- or "political polygamy," as some call it -- challenges Personally cherished assumptions about what it means to be an Citizen. It prompts questions about loyalty and personal identity and evokes emotional responses." (more)
(Personally, I think it's an excellent paradox
which forces us to think of ourselves as members of a much larger
group than just our birth country. Good training for the future
'Beloved Community,' as Martin Luther King Jr, used to
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
A Rolling Stone Poll, 2004, places 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' the No. 1 rock album of all time.
Hmmmm . . . just four short years ago, The
London Evening Standard, came up with another Poll:
" . . . . and the worst album of all time. . . was: 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' , by The Beatles.'
I hope this illustrates how brain dead music polls are and what their function really is: ADVERTISING and PROMOTION for the particular media organisation that conducts them. They have NADA to do with music. Keep that in mind the next time you stumble across one.
" Deep in Canada's barren North, lives an animal scientists believe to be the most prolific lover in the entire animal kingdom. During the Fall rutting season, the male Wapiti Elk (Carvus Laphus) amasses a hormonal structure that allows him to experience multiple sexual orgasms within three minutes apart, and up to 20 times per day! The name "wapiti" is a Shawnee Indian word for "white," referring to the light rump color. European settlers mistakenly called the animal "elk," which is German for moose.
POTENTIAL FOR SECOND REPEAT SEXUAL PERFORMANCE
Average Middle-Aged Male 2-1/2 hrs.
Average Middle-Aged Wapiti Elk 3 min.
POTENTIAL FOR THIRD REPEAT SEXUAL PERFORMANCE
Average Middle-Aged Male 6 to 15 hrs.
Average Middle-Aged Wapiti Elk 5 to 9 min.
Now imagine that you might safely infuse yourself with the hormones behind this incredibly virile creature's sexual abilities. You'd find yourself in the enviable position of being known as "Super Sex Machine".
You would have amazing stamina. The ability to rapidly rejuvenate your erections. Allowing you to please your lover over and over again, until she begs you to stop. (website)
(note: Heck, that's no big deal. I've known quite a few women who begged me to stop . . . . some before I even started. Real Men don't need to suck on Moose gonads, either, to understand when No Means No.
But I digress . . . . . .)
One person's trash is another person's treasure
on 'freecycling' sites.
Think curbside recycling without the curb - a virtual junkyard at your fingertips.
And best of all, everything is free.
Get ready for "freecycling," the latest trend on the Internet, where you can unload the most pesky household clutter or grab some diamond-in-the-rough collectibles for yourself - all via e-mail.
The only rule is that no money can change hands.
Furniture, appliances, clothing, toys - you name it, and, theoretically, someone will take it off your hands.
Links for your area (AUS, CAN, UK, USA, INDIA, JAP, KOR, ROM) may be found here.
(Thanks to John E. Jacobs)
Ouch! For a subliminal painful and tearful musical experience, check out 'Close to You' - the practically 12-tone interpretation of the classic Karen Carpenter song as sung by . . . . Wing! (singular.)
She introduces herself better than I can:
"Hi, I am Wing! I immigrated to New Zealand
with my family about ten years ago from Hong Kong. I have been
learning singing in New Zealand and I do performances in Rest
Homes and Hospitals and occasionally promotional concerts as I
go along. I released my first CD Phantom Of The Opera and got
a grant from the Manukau City Council for promotion. Then I released
I Could Have Danced All Night and The Sound Of Music. My latest
CDs are called "Wing Sings The Carpenters" and "Wing
Sings All your favourites". I have worked hard and I hope
you have all found I am improving. Thank you for all who supports
me helping me very much as I go along.
Thank you!" (Wing website)
Military Draft To Return
According to the Sonoma State University's Project Censored newsletter (Winter 2004), "$28 million has been added to the 2004 Selective Service System (SSS) budget to prepare for a military draft that could start as early as June 15, 2005. SSS must report to Bush on March 31, 2005 that the system, which has lain dormant for decades, is ready for activation. Please see website to view the SSS Annual Performance Plan - Fiscal Year 2004 : Website
The Pentagon has also quietly begun a public campaign to fill all 10,350 draft board positions and 11,070 appeals board slots nationwide. Website
Sonoma State University's Project Censored: Website
(Thank to Maireid Sullivan)
The HORROR . . . The HORROR . . . The HOSPITAL
What is one of the most dangerous things you can do when you get seriously ill? Go to the hospital.
Talk about Catch-22! You're sick and you're told by your doctor to go to the hospital but no one tells you the deadly little secret of today's hospitals. They kill. They kill because they have inadequate infection control practices. Patients going in for a particular problem often acquire infections from the hospital itself, often causing death.
Lots of deaths. The Center for Disease Control
reports that nearly 90,000 Americans a year die from these hospital
infections. That's more than die from auto accidents and homicides
combined!! About two million patients a year catch infections
from their hospitals one of every 20 people who go in. (article)
Last February, Morgan Spurlock decided to become a gastronomical guinea pig.
His mission: To eat three meals a day for 30 days at McDonald's and document the impact on his health.
Scores of cheeseburgers, hundreds of fries and dozens of chocolate shakes later, the formerly strapping 6-foot-2 New Yorker - who started out at a healthy 185 pounds - had packed on 25 pounds.
But his supersized shape was the least of his problems.
Within a few days of beginning his drive-through diet, Spurlock, 33, was vomiting out the window of his car, and doctors who examined him were shocked at how rapidly Spurlock's entire body deteriorated.
"It was really crazy - my body basically
fell apart over the course of 30 days," Spurlock told The
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP)
A woman was reported in stable condition Thursday after doctors removed a 176-pound benign tumor in an eight-hour operation.
Lucica Bunghez "felt free after the tumor was removed," said Dr. Ioan Lascar, who teamed with Dr. McKay McKinnon, a plastic surgeon from Chicago, and 12 other doctors in Wednesday's operation.
It took less time than expected because the tumor was symmetrical, allowing for two teams of surgeons to work simultaneously, he said.
Bunghez, 46, suffered from neurofibromatosis, or NF, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that causes disfiguring tumors to form on nerves throughout the body.
Her tumor covered much of her back and ran
halfway down her thighs. Without it, she weighs 88 pounds, doctors
said. The growing tumor had absorbed blood and nutrients from
her body like a giant parasite. (article)
Iraqis Want Saddam's Old U.S. Friends on
By Michael Georgy
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - If Iraqis ever see Saddam Hussein on trial, they want his former American allies shackled beside him.
"Saddam should not be the only one who is put on trial. The Americans backed him when he was killing Iraqis so they should be prosecuted," said Ali Mahdi, a builder.
"If the Americans escape justice they
will face God's justice. They must be stoned in hell."(more)
What a Fair Trial for Saddam Would Entail
by Noam Chomsky
The long, tortuous association between Saddam Hussein and the West raises questions about what issues - and embarrassments - may surface at a tribunal.
In a (virtually unimaginable) fair trial for
Saddam, a defense attorney could quite rightly call to the stand
Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush I and
other high officials who provided significant support for the
dictator, even through his worst atrocities.(more)
Archbishop Tutu Calls on Blair, Bush to Admit Iraq War Was Wrong
Archbishop Desmond Tutu says Tony Blair and George Bush should admit the war in Iraq was wrong.
He said such a move would help persuade the people of Iraq the coalition is serious about the future of the country.
Archbishop Tutu, now visiting professor on
post-conflict societies at Kings College London, has told the
BBC: "I think the coalition would show considerable magnanimity
if it was, in fact, to acknowledge that in the first place the
assault on Iraq was wrong. (more)
Poverty, Not Terror, the Real Threat - U.N.
by Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS - The world is so preoccupied with terrorism and weapons of mass destruction that it continues to ignore the real threats facing mankind, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned Wednesday.
The fears that stalk most people, he said, are those of poverty, starvation, unemployment and deadly diseases -- not nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.
''In the daily lives of most people, terrorism
and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are remote and hypothetical
threats,'' Annan added. (more)
"My Karma ran over my Dogma."
There in the garden, a young monk speaks: "Master, I've been thinking about getting a dogma, and I seek your advice. Any thoughts on the matter?"
The Old Monk collects her thoughts, and calmly
replies: "Well my son, everyone has a pet belief, so why
should you be any different? Yes, we human beings have had dogmas
since the dawn of recorded history. This is understandable. You
cannot imagine how comforting it is to
curl up with a warm fuzzy dogma on a dark night of the soul. Or to take him to the park on a fine sunny Sunday in January and watch him sniff and chase other dogmas, and bark at strangers.
Some folks keep dogmas for protection. It's reassuring to have a guard dogma to scare away frightening thoughts - and it's great to have a loyal companion to fetch you an explanation when you get home from a hard day at work.
And dogmas come in all varieties. Some humans like big dumb dogmas, and others prefer squeaky little irritating ones. And with compassion, someone has to stand for the underdogma. Dogma is truly wo/man's best friend.
Now, some may ask, why not let sleeping dogmas lie? But who really wants to be lied to? And what about menacing dogmas that bite? Or dogmas that run wild and get in everyone's garbage? I know, I know`you're probably thinking, "It isn't my dogma making all the mess, it's my neighbor's dogma."
And indeed you can look out any night and see a pack of aggressive dogmas running down the street chasing a doubt. And what should you do when you are walking down the road and a threatening dogma appears in your path? Stay calm and let the unfamiliar dogma know who's boss. Say, "Bad dogma, roll over!"
It is a fact of life that dogmas have sharp teeth, and when backed into a corner, they can bite. As a dogma owner it is your responsibility to see that your dogma does not bite. And - if it does, well, sometimes a vicious dogma has to be put down.
Another fact of life is that dogmas inevitably get old and sick. Perhaps you've spent years lovingly taking care of a tired old dogma - and still the time comes to put that old dogma to sleep.
It is sad when you must give up a loyal dogma
like that - so I say enjoy your dogma while it is alive and playful.
You know how uncanny it is that dogma owners come to resemble
their dogmas. So, my son, you may have a dogma. But just make
sure your dogma doesn't mess on
your neighbor's lawn.
And know that on Non-Judgment Day, all our dogmas will run free, and surely they will bother no one. "
- adapted from Swami Beyondananda
(Thanks to Neil Christopher)
Death and Dying
By N. R. KLEINFIELD
" . . . Ms. Phyllis Farley, now 79, is a proponent of natural childbirth and chairwoman of the board of the Maternity Center Association in Manhattan. Being around hospitals a lot, she was disturbed to see how many people died alone, with no one to nurture them through their final days.
In 1998, while at a conference dealing with end-of-life issues, Ms. Farley listened to a talk by Dr. Sherwin Nuland, a professor of surgery and an author. He stressed how important it was for sick people to have companionship to help them accept death, and he used the Yiddish word for funeral, "levaya," which means "to accompany."
It all coalesced in Ms. Farley's head. She decided to start a program to train volunteers to befriend those fated to die in solitude.
She found sponsorship from the Shira Ruskay Center of the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services, a private New York mental health and social service agency, and N.Y.U. Medical Center. In late 2000, she got a pilot program percolating that paired five volunteers and the dying.
She liked the name "doula," a Greek
word for women who assisted mothers with childbirth. The idea
zigzagged across her mind that there should be doulas to help
people leave the world. The program was named "Doula to Accompany
(Thanks to JF Stover)
Photojournalist Moral Dilemma
You're in Florida... In Miami, to be exact... There is great chaos going on around you, caused by a hurricane and severe floods .......
There are huge masses of water all over you.... You are a news photographer and you are in the middle of this great disaster. The situation is nearly hopeless. You're trying to shoot very impressive photos. There are houses and people floating around you, disappearing into the water. Nature is showing all its destroying power and is ripping everything away with it.
Suddenly you see a man in the water, he is fighting for his life, trying not to be taken away by the masses of water and mud. You move closer. Somehow the man looks familiar. Suddenly you know who it is - it's George W. Bush!
At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to take him away...forever.
You have two options. You can save him or you can take the best photo of your life. So you can save the life of George W. Bush, or you can shoot a Pulitzer prize winning photo. A unique photo displaying the death of one of the world's most powerful men.
And here's the question: (Please give an honest answer)
Would you select colour film, or go with the
simplicity of classic black and white?
(Thanks to James Lauritz)
Mike's Coeliac-Friendly Meatloaf
Main Entry: coe·li·ac
variant of CELIAC
Etymology: Latin coeliacus, from Greek koiliakos, from koilia cavity, from koilos hollow -- of or relating to the abdominal cavity
2 large onions (finely chopped)
3 cloves of garlic (chopped or crushed)
500 g lean minced beef
1 handful of dried Mixed Italian Herbs (or fresh if you prefer)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 1 cup of rice breadcrumbs
1 Massel beef style stock cube cube * dissolved in 1/4 cup of boiling water
(*This product is gluten and dairy free as is the recipe. You may, of course, substitute a well-flavoured beef stock, if you're feeling low on glute.)
Pre-heat oven to 160°C
Fry onion and garlic till lightly browned
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a large bwl (adding onions and stock last to avoid curdling the egg)
Firmly pack the mixture into lightly oiled loaf tin.
Bake for about 1.25hrs. Loaf should be moist, not dry.
(Thanks to Mike Jackson)