July 13th, 2003

A Terrible and Despicable Beauty

"Denn das Schöne ist nichts als des Schrecklichen Anfang, den wir noch grade ertragen, und wir bewundern es so, weil es gelassen verschmäht, uns zu zerstören. "

(For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to bear, and we are so awed by it because it serenely disdains to destroy us. )
(First Duino Elegy, by Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. Dolce)


Hi beautiful hungry people!

This week, I'm endorsing some encouraging articles that continue to show encouraging evidence of a strong kind of neo-cuisine, return-to-real ingredients movement against the lies, preservatives, fact twisting, flavour enhancers, dishonesty and bleached white flour biscuits that we've had to put up with from the Burning Bush Barbeque Brothers administration (and by association, the Barnsley Chop Blair and Shrimp-up-the-Barbie Howard governments.) This vital food movement, which has been dismissed and marginalized by main stream cooking media, for the most part, during the past year (there were some exceptions and some writer/line chefs who refused to do this) is slowly but surely working its way into mass garden market news publications lately, due in large part to the intense focus, effort and culinary research that the American Democratic Cooking Party have been putting in. Now some may argue that these are just partisan and opposition efforts to oust the ham-fisted Republican brulee burners. Well, even if it is, GOOD! Isn't that the point of having other political parties and dining choices? Who wants restauranteurs in the kitchen that deceive their customers with flowery and misleading menu items, in order to implement a lazy and defective culinary vision, serving up offal where eye filet was indicated? I might still be naive but I still believe that there can be greatness in politics and cooking, and true stewardship that moves us closer to what Chef Martin Luther King Jr called 'The Beloved Community Pot Luck Dinner'. And I'm not talking about a pic-nic somewhere in Heaven. Here and now - in realtime dinnertime! (And if there is a little snack in heaven later, then wouldn't that make it all the more spectacular and unimaginable, if we could take care of some of the essential mis-en-place while we still had our aprons on?)
If the dull knives and saturated oils of the Bush cartel can be removed from the world kitchen, perhaps better food awareness will emerge in both Australia and the UK as a result. Everyone is watching the US tasting trials and the upcoming 2004 election cook-off and clambake, and will take their recipes and meal planning from what goes down there.

This week, I've also found another good effort from that old toasted cheese grizzler, Normal Mailer, listed some of my favourite new DVDs and books - and some links that can help you find them - and finally, two battle-tested recipes - one for chicken eaters and one for my chicken liberation friends.

Enjoy the food and wine, and be nice to your liver - you might want to donate it to an out-of-work Republican hamburger flipper one day.

Hugs and a cold-press,
Sous-Chef to Maestro Guiseppi Fanculo

Is the following argument another conspiracy theory, food for thought, or just entertaining fiction? Whatever the case, it's worth reading. Special thanks to Joe Simonetta, Democratic US Congressional candidate, for Florida, who sent many of the fine articles this week.

Proof Of Controlled Demolition At The WTC
 by Jerry Russell, Ph.D.

(The author has a master's degree in Engineering from Stanford University,
and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Oregon.)

" Steel frame towers are built very strongly. They need to withstand the pressure of gale-force winds, the violent rocking motion of earthquakes, and the ravages of time. For this reason, they are almost impossible to destroy.

Airplane strikes do not destroy skyscrapers. A bomber strike to the Empire State Building during World War II did not harm that building. The World Trade Center towers were designed to survive a strike by a Boeing 707. The 767 is more massive, so the building was stressed near its design limits. But if a failure had occurred at that moment, it would have been at the point of highest levered stress, near the base of the tower, and the tower would have fallen over like a giant tree in a forest windstorm. That, of course, did not happen.

Fires do not destroy skyscrapers. Never in the history of steel frame structures has a single one been destroyed by fire.

How to destroy a skyscraper. So, how do you destroy a skyscraper? Suppose you need the vacant land to build another one, for example.

A nuclear bomb is very effective, but it can be difficult to get permits from the city.

An early invention was the wrecking ball. A huge lump of steel and lead is swung from a massive chain at high speed. With the benefit of momentum, it is able to bend or break a few girders at a time. But it would be a hopeless task to destroy a tower the size of the World Trade Center, using a wrecking ball.

The most effective, cleanest, safest way to destroy a skyscraper is known as controlled demolition. The trick is to distribute explosives at key points throughout the structure. The explosives are detonated simultaneously, destroying the integrity of the steel frame at key points, such that no part of the building is supported against the force of gravity. The entire mass is pulled swiftly to earth, where gravity does the work of pounding the structure into tiny fragments of steel and concrete. The gravitational potential energy of the structure is converted smoothly and uniformly into kinetic energy, and then is available very efficiently to pulverise the fragments of the building as they impact against the unyielding earth. Controlled demolitions have a striking and characteristic appearance of smooth, flowing collapse.

As your eyes will tell you, the World Trade Center collapses looked like controlled demolitions. Here's the Proof " (more):

UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix retired on Monday: "It is sort of fascinating that you can have 100 percent certainty about weapons of mass destruction and zero certainty of about where they are."(article)

The White Man Unburdened
By Norman Mailer

" Exeunt: lightning and thunder, shock and awe. Dust, ash, fog, fire, smoke, sand, blood, and a good deal of waste now move to the wings. The stage, however, remains occupied. The question posed at curtain-rise has not been answered. Why did we go to war? If no real weapons of mass destruction are found, the question will keen in pitch.

Or, if some weapons are uncovered in Iraq, it is likely that even more have been moved to new hiding places beyond the Iraqi border. Should horrific events take place, we can count on a predictable response: "Good, honest, innocent Americans died today because of evil al-Qaeda terrorists." Yes, we will hear the President's voice before he even utters such words. (For those of us who are not happy with George W. Bush, we may as well recognise that living with him in the Oval Office is like being married to a mate who always says exactly what you know in advance he or she is going to say, which helps to account for why more than half of America now appears to love him.)

The key question remains-why did we go to war? It is not yet answered. The host of responses has already produced a cognitive stew. But the most painful single ingredient at the moment is, of course, the discovery of the graves. We have relieved the world of a monster who killed untold numbers, mega-numbers, of victims. Nowhere is any emphasis put upon the fact that many of the bodies were of the Shiites of southern Iraq who have been decimated repeatedly in the last twelve years for daring to rebel against Saddam in the immediate aftermath of the Gulf War. Of course, we were the ones who encouraged them to revolt in the first place, and then failed to help them. Why? There may have been an ongoing argument in the first Bush administration which was finally won by those who believed that a Shiite victory over Saddam could result in a host of Iraqi imams who might make common cause with the Iranian ayatollahs, Shiites joining with Shiites! Today, from the point of view of the remaining Iraqi Shiites, it would be hard for us to prove to them that they were not the victims of a double cross. So they may look upon the graves that we congratulate ourselves for having liberated as sepulchral voices calling out from their tombs-asking us to take a share of the blame. Which, of course, we will not. "(more)

ABEBOOKS - For book lovers who have a hard time finding unusual books, bookmark this site where you can hunt down the rarest and also the best prices for books all over the

Weekly Book Recommendation

JARHEAD - A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War
by Anthony Swofford

'Jarhead is not only a work of reportage from a 'privileged' observer; it is also a display of genuine talent.' Martin Amis

Excerpt - " There is talk than many Vietnam films are antiwar, that the message is: war is inhumane and look what happens when you train young American men to fight and kill, they turn their fighting and killing everywhere, they ignore their targets and desecrate the entire country, shooting fully automatic, forgetting they were trained to aim. But actually, Vietnam war films are all pro-war, no matter what the supposed message, what Kubrick or Coppola or Stone intended. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson in Omaha, or San Francisco, or Manhattan will watch the films and weep and decide once and for all that war is inhumane and terrible and then will tell their friends at church and their family this, but Corporal Johnson at Camp Pendleton and Sergeant Johnson at Travis Air Force Base and Seaman Johnson at Coronado Naval Station and Spec 4 Johnson at Fort Bragg and Lance Corporal Swofford at Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base watch the same films and are excited by them, because the magic brutality of the films celebrates the terrible and despicable beauty of their fighting skills. Fight, rape, war, pillage, burn. Filmic images of death and carnage are pornography for the military man; with film you are stroking his cock, tickling his balls with the pink feather of history, getting him ready for his real First Fuck. It doesn't matter how many Mr. and Mrs. Johnsons are antiwar - the actual killers who know how to use the weapons are not."

Twelve DVD Movie Recommendations

Most of the DVDs I am recommending here (except Chopper and Shakira - Unplugged) are not available in Australia and that's the main purpose for mentioning them in this newsletter. If you want to see these films, currently you'll have to order them.

HAPPYHUNTER is the fastest site I have found for finding films world-wide:


1. THESIS - the first film of Alejandro Amenabar, the writer of OPEN YOUR EYES and writer/director of THE OTHERS. Story of a woman student writing and researching a thesis on violence in the audio-visual media who stumbles upon a group within the university making snuff films. She becomes the target of their next film. Very scary with still-taboo themes.

2. THE GREY ZONE - directed by Tim Blake Wilson - the little known story of one unit of Auschwitz's Sonderkommandos, (the Jewish prisoners responsible for the ovens), who led the only armed revolt.

3. GATHERING STORM - with Vanessa Redgrave, and Albert Finney, as Winston Churchill - Churchill's gripping biography, from the mid-30s, until he became Prime Minister.

4. TEARS OF THE SUN - with Bruce Willis and Monica Bellucci. A film project Willis personally believed in and developed for many years before finally getting it made. The story of a Navy Seal rescue of Red Cross aid workers in Africa. A great action-thriller and very timely. (Currently on at the cinemas.)

5. LIVE FROM BAGHDAD - with Michael Keaton. The true story of CNN's unique coming of age, in Iraq, during the Gulf War, 1991.

6. DISTORTED MORALITY - A one-hour enlightening talk, and question and answer period, given by Noam Chomsky, at Harvard University.

7. UNCLE SADDAM - A satirical, yet sobering look inside the world of Saddam Hussein, filmed practically mockumentary style by Joel Soler, in Iraq, before the first Gulf War. Surreal and fascinating. With unique archival footage, it has the feel of 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,' and includes an extensive interview with Saddam's interior decorator, who was poisoned shortly after the film was completed.

8. & 9. THE LAST DON - Parts 1 and 2, produced for US Home Box Office. Part 1 is a masterpiece, from the novel written by Mario Puzo, Part 2 was written after Puzo's death, by the same screenwriter who adapted Part 1. The story of the Clericuzio family and its war with the Santadio Family. It doesn't have the big budget and production values of the GODFATHER films, De Niro, Brando and the rest, and Coppola directing, of course, but the new characters are equally brilliant and unforgettable, and the depth of mythical drama is all there. I've watched this a dozen times, still love it, and am looking forward to seeing it again! The novel is also riveting. I read the entire book aloud to my partner, Lin, in the bush, by candlelight, a couple of years ago, while kangaroos were thumping down to the river for their evening nightcap.

10. BLACK HAWK DOWN - the THREE CD US Special Edition with all the documentaries including the History Channel doco, and the PBS (US) doco, 3 audio commentaries- one with director Ridley Scott, and another with Mark Bowden, the author of the book on which the film was based, and a third with the actual Task Force Ranger Veterans who were involved the real thing. There are two other docos, as well, on the making of the film, and a beautiful video clip of the Hans Zimmer-Lisa Gerrard song, 'J'Attends' sung by Gerrard and tenor, Denez Prigent. This film didn't move me the first time I saw it, but it grows on you after the 2nd viewing. A very gripping thorough look at this true and not too distant tragic event. Particularly relevant with all this recent talk about the US going into Liberia.

11. CHOPPER - Eric Bana's breakthrough film. He's more buffed up in Black Hawk Down and now The Hulk but he's playing a real big ol' hulk in this Special Edition which comes with a audio commentary by Mark 'Chopper' Read himself. (Say no more.)

12. SHAKIRA - UNPLUGGED - Before she dyed her black hair blonde, got into dance music, really started exploiting her belly dancing skills, began wearing naval-revealing low-cut skin-tight pants and performing in Las Vegas, Shakira was practically an alternative folk singer. In this early film of her live in performance, she sings passionately and completely in Spanish, accompanied by a great Mexican mariachi band featuring one of the most dynamic woman accordion players I've ever seen.

Fun: Watch El Presidente Bushzappata do the Moon Walk: DancesWithBush


John Dean, President Nixon's White House counsel, says the case for impeachment would be easy legally, but impossible politically:
"To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be 'a high crime' under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony 'to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose.'"

A superb interview with Dean:
"Impeachment is a political proceeding, of quasi-legal nature. Republicans are not going to impeach their president. To the contrary, it is very clear they would defend him."



ROAST ROSEMARY-GARLIC CHICKEN (with Yoghurt and Garlic Sauce)

Free range chicken
fresh rosemary sprigs
half of an onion, in one piece
10-15 garlic cloves
1 cup yoghurt
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tbles lemon juice
chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 220 C. Prepare yoghurt-garlic sauce.

Yoghurt-Garlic Sauce
Dice and mash 2 cloves of garlic with salt until smooth. Add 2 tble olive oil, salt and pepper, chopped parsley, lemon juice. Mix. Add in the yoghurt. Stir thoroughly. Correct seasoning to taste. Chill.

Rub inside of chicken with one crushed clove of garlic. Salt the inside. Place some of the rosemary sprigs and the onion half in the cavity. With a sharp knife, puncture the chicken at 15 or so places and insert a piece of rosemary and a half clove of garlic. (Use your finger first to enlarge the hole.) Rub butter over the outside of the chicken. Roast in oven for 25 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook another 20 minutes. Turn back over, cover with aluminium foil and continue roasting another 25 minutes, or until cooked throughout, yet still moist. Take out of oven.

To serve:
Cut or break chicken into rough pieces. Place on serving dish. Serve yoghurt-garlic sauce in a separate bowl. Each person spoons as much sauce over chicken as desired. Serve with just a green salad.


4 potatoes
1 beetroot
stalk of celery (inner part) - chopped finely
some sweet-sour pickles, or baby dills - chopped
cup cooked corn kernels
good mayonnaise
cayenne pepper
chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 apple, chopped into small cubes
sour cream (optional)

Boil potatoes whole or halved until cooked but STILL FIRM. Cool. Boil beetroot until cooked. Cool. Peel and chop into small cubes. Cut potatoes into quarters or eighths, depending on size. Mix in a bowl with beetroot, pickles, corn, celery, apple and garlic. Add mayonnaise to taste. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. When ready to serve, mix a little more mayonnaise or sour cream throughout to refresh it, sprinkle with cayenne pepper and a layer of finely chopped parsley. The beetroot will give the potato salad a purple glow that contrasts brilliantly with the bright red cayenne pepper and the green of the parsley. This is an excellent side dish that also goes well with any of the other soul food recipes indexed.


docendo discrimus
(we learn by teaching)