Welcome to Two Thousand and Four, twenty years down the track from Nineteen Eighty Four. From George Orwell to George Bush in two decades.
Favourite Reader Feed-back of the Week
" Bravo! Three provocative articles/speeches.
. . . a recipe. . . and a poem! What other publication offers
such diversity - except maybe the Christian Science Monitor, to
which I have subscribed for years. . . " WaylandN
REALLY USEFUL INFORMATION SECTION
If anyone is interested in starting their own
online petition about something near and dear, then go to this
site and you can have your own up and running in no time.
IRAQ LETTER FEEDBACK
In response to last week's report on ' the Positive statistics from Iraq that they don't tell you on televison,' thanks to John Jacobs for alerting me to this research on www.snopes.com, the official debunker of dodgey information. Whether the facts and figures quoted last week are true or not, at least we now know where they really came from (and it wasn't from Alison Fortado, the medical officer with the 101st Airborne Division.)
" Origin: The item
appears to have originated with a Coalition Provisional Authority
briefing given by L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. Presidential Envoy
to Iraq (the highest-ranking U.S. civilian official in Iraq) on
9 October 2003. Some of the accomplishments cited in this piece
were echoed in an 8 December 2003 Forbes magazine article
by Caspar W. Weinberger, who served as Secretary of Defense during
the Reagan administration. (more)
New Willie Nelson Song Condemns War in Iraq
DALLAS - Country music icon Willie Nelson has written a song with an edge -- a protest against the war in Iraq that he hopes will stir passions in those who hear it.
What Ever Happened To Peace On Earth
" There's so many things going on in
How much oil is one human life worth
And what ever happened to peace on earth .. . "
(complete article and lyrics)
These kind of things are near and dear to my heart so I'm passing on some information about two of them to you.
The Nimbin Museum
(NIMBIN, Australia) -- This tiny mecca of psychedelia, the "Hippie Capital of Australia," sits along Australia's blue highways, nestled amid rolling hills bearing mangoes, avocados, lychees and--perhaps its most distinctive crop--marijuana.
Since carving its countercultural identity in 1973 with the Nimbin Aquarius Festival, modeled after the 1969 Woodstock in upstate New York, the once desolate bush village is burgeoning with hippies, mystics, artists, backpackers, entrepreneurs, farmers, drug addicts, misfits and miscellaneous lost souls.
At least 10,000 live in or around the New South Wales town of Nimbin. Most reside in the 62 communes surrounding the village, though others live out of tepees, tents, vans or campers. Few people actually are from here. Many come in with the wind and end up staying either because they have nowhere else to go or because no one is kicking them out.
"We're all dropouts on one level or another mostly," conceded Michael Balderstone, 51, who would be considered a town elder if Nimbin were the kind of place that conferred titles.
"People realize Nimbin is the last bus stop. It's the end of the road. It's a very tolerant, accepting community. That means we've also got junkies, we've got alcoholics, we've got mad people. It's inevitable."(article)
The Hippie Museum
An online 'virtual museum' which is open to contributors.
Here's a nice article by a friend and fellow survivor of the Northern California Communes:
What Did The Hippies Want?
by Alicia Bay Laurel
We wanted intimacy--not a neighborhood where you didn't know anyone on the block, or you competed, kept up with the Joneses. A hunter-gatherer or early agricultural community meant that people lived, worked and sought deeper contact with the holy spirit as a group, and they all knew one another, from cradle to grave. I used to call my hippie friendships "a horizontal extended family," as opposed to the ancient tribal extended family, which was multi-generational, and therefore, vertical. We wanted a culture which acknowledged the human body, not just for sex, but to hug each other, to be naked without shame, to revere the body with natural foods, beneficial exercise, herbs, baths, massage, deep understanding. This was not part of the culture from which we came.
We wanted a culture that thrived on gift-giving.
We hitchhiked, shared our food and drugs, gave away our possessions.
People who could afford to buy land invited others who could not
to live there.
We opened free stores, free clinics, free kitchens, not just in the Haight, but everywhere we went. We wanted be living proof that God was taking care of us and therefore there was no need to hoard.
We wanted to live without the constraints of time. We wanted to wake up each day and decide what would be the most fun to do that day--or just find out as it went along. We wanted to go with the flow, follow our bliss, be here now. This was in complete opposition to the culture from which we came. (article)
Past Defeat and Personal Quest Shape Long-Shot
by Sheryl Gay Stolberg
. . . At 57, he keeps to a strict vegan diet; on a cold December night in Cleveland, Mr. Kucinich padded about his kitchen in stocking feet - no shoes are allowed in the Kucinich home - and ate Chinese bean curd for dinner. He is twice divorced but open to a new relationship, even going so far as to advertise his availability during a candidates' debate. His campaign manager is a "transformational kinesiologist" - a practitioner of the healing arts - who has never before worked in politics . . .
. . . As he hopscotches around the country, delivering speeches that blend the themes of John Lennon with an ardent defense of the working class, Mr. Kucinich - a slim man at 5-foot-7, 135 pounds - has become the boutique candidate for peace activists and Hollywood liberals. Willie Nelson and Bonnie Raitt are the headliners of a fund-raiser concert for him this week . . .
. . . That he does not seem to stand a chance does not faze Mr. Kucinich. He is convinced, he says, that there is "a readiness on the part of the electorate to embrace" his vision for America, if only they have an opportunity to hear it. No matter that voters outside the ethnic wards of Cleveland can barely pronounce his Croatian surname. (It is pronounced koo-SIN-itch.)
The candidate says they will learn.
"I make the impossible possible,"
he told a radio interviewer in Houston, from the cellphone in
his kitchen that cold December night. "That's what I specialize
Favourite Porn Spam Subject Heading of the Week
' Guys Tell Me I Have a Model's Body; They
Don't Know About My Schlong.'
'Older Talent Time' meets 'Red Arses. '
Or the big budget, karoke/cover version aberration more commonly known as 'Australian Idol'.
Don't misunderstand me. I sympathise with the contestants who are doing what any normal person would do: taking an opportunity that has been offered, for some well-needed recognition which could lead to work.
But the title of the show itself, 'Australian Idol', or 'American Idol', (will we soon have 'Iraqi Idol'?) - pretty much sums up how inane this whole business is and the irresponsibility and misdirection of the music industry, and the media, in leading youth down the garden path as to what is really important and crucial about creating music.
Any truly visionary artist would have no chance in this battery-hen TV environment.
Even some of the really well-known popular artists probably wouldn't have had a chance. Mama Cass and Demis Roussos would have been humiliated for carrying too many porkchops. (As would the latter year, frying chicken-eating Elvis.) Brian Wilson would have been returned to the manufacturer early as damaged goods. Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, and Peter Townsend would have really pissed off the panel for their sheer arrogance and non-suckability. Jerry Lee 'Great Balls of Fire' Lewis would have been run out of town on a rail, and even that huggable thug, '50 Cent,' would have probably punched out or shot the judges. JRR Tolkien would have most likely been eliminated because of bad hobbits (ow!) but Harry Potter (with contacts) might have been non-threatening enough to make the finals.
That musical genius, Barry Manilow, would have beaten everyone, panties down.
It is really a no-brainer on every level. The clearest way to illustrate what I mean is that even in the World Idol competition, just the mere fact that you are not allowed to vote for the contestant from your own country. . . . I mean: how stupid is that? It's a National competition, for christ's sake. You're SUPPOSED to have national pride in your contestant. It's like going to the footy and having to barrack for the other side. What kind of friggin' contest is that? And a great majority of the Australian voting audience, as they weren't allowed to vote for the Australian, didn't see anything wrong in voting for the Norwegian guy, who won! How dumb is that? If they wanted Guy Sebastian to win, they should have cast their votes en masse for the WORST contestant, not someone they thought was really GOOD. The Australian votes, therefore, were part of the reason Guy Sebastian did so poorly - by helping to contribute to the final tally and momentum that selected Norway's Kurt Nilsen as the winner. Duh.
This twisted sister of logic also shows the absurdity of using the popular barometer to determine artistic excellence. Of course, in these kind of unequal international voting popularity contests, you need these kind of arse-end rules. Otherwise, the country with the MOST voters would always win. China would get the $25 Aluminium Foil Crown every year.
Thankfully, the popular barometer is only a
temporary yardstick. As the great investment teacher, Ben Graham
once said about the stock market, which is also true about music:
'In the short term, it's a voting machine. But in the long term,
it's a WEIGHING machine.'
Lots of votes now. Very little weight later.
Van Gogh and JS Bach were trivialised by the popular critics in their day and barely ecked out a living. A hundred years later, they are massive ' World Idols.' But we will see no Bachs or Van Goghs emerge from these advertiser's wet-dream TV and Radio competitions, I can assure you of that. Oh, artists of this calibre are probably in our very midst at present but the majority of us are unable to see them. Without peer group re-inforcement, for the most part, we can't think for ourselves. We would treat Van Gogh today, were he alive, exactly as we treated him then. It has always been that way and will continue to be so. This is the nature of the Visionary dilemma. A chronic need, in the human psyche, to be liked and have the approval of others, is the real stumbling block to the uniqueness we all seek as creative people.
Old Walt Disney is said to have had ten advisors and he only would act on one of his ideas- if NINE of them thought he shouldn't do it! THAT'S how much he believed in what he did, how cutting edge he was driven to be, and how little notice he took of critics - even close ones.
Lee Iaccoca, the CEO who turned Chrysler around, once said, 'If you want to make really BIG changes, you have to be prepared to be . . . UNPOPULAR.'
German poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, wrote (paraphrased): 'We struggle for years and years with our eyes down and focused, lack of money does not dissuade us, lack of material comforts and even food, lack of possessions, we will even forsake our loved ones and family, yet continue to keep our eyes down and focused on our work, our vision. One day, fortune smiles on us and we accidentally stumble into popular acceptance. Then we look up and get distracted.'
Here's another 70 year old woman getting her knickers off. (What's the matter with old people these days, anyway?)
Baring Witness - The Vision
By Donna Sheehan
" It is no accident that Baring Witness began with women. From Nigeria to Nepal to the United States, women are impatient with the endless cycle of violence and war between people, between nations, between human beings and the earth itself.
It is no accident either that women would choose to get naked for the sake of peace and justice. For Baring Witness is about using the greatest weapon women have, the power of the feminine, the power of our beauty and nakedness to awaken our male leaders and stop them in their tracks. In this way Baring Witness is about heightening the awareness of human vulnerability.
By risking with our nakedness - our charm and
beauty and vulnerability - in service of peace we are exposing
the flesh all humans share. We are casting off the old dominant
paradigm of aggression and restoring the power of the feminine
to its rightful place as the protector of life. It is time for
women to deter the men in their lives from violent acts, as nurturers,
as guardians of our families and as voices of reason . . . "
Baring Witness Photo Album
(Note: She can be my grandma anytime!)
Risotto Foglio dell'oro alla White Heather
(Risotto with saffron, peas, fresh basil and gold leaf garnish)
120 g arborio risotto rice
80g fresh peas
50g parmesan cheese
40ml extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil leaves, for garnish
2 gold leaf, for garnish
2lt vegetable stock
30ml White Heather Chardonnay
Braise a 2 spoons of chopped onions in a bit of butter and oil. Add the rice and braise it for a couple of minutes. Add white wine and deglaze.
Start adding boiling vegetable stock, a little at a time, just enough to cover the rice. Wait till the rice absorbs the broth, this is the main cooking principle of a risotto. Add salt and pepper according to taste.
Add the saffron stems and the peas half way trough. Cook for exactly 18 minutes and keep adding the broth. Remove it from the fire and emulsify with butter and Parmesan cheese.
Check the taste before serving. Sprinkle good extra virgin olive oil on top. Garnish with gold leaf, fresh basil and parmesan cheese.
(Note: Try Lancefield Winery's 2002 White Heather unoaked Chardonnay
for this dish. Andrew Pattison, my personal 'Vintner in Lancefield,'
won his second Silver Medal this year for this fine wine.)