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July 14th, 2006

Tin Sandwich

"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."
AJ Liebling


Greetings Comrade Freedom Publishers,

I watched 'The Petrov Affair' on dvd last week. For overseas readers, this was a true political spy drama in Australia in 1954, involving the defection of Vladimir Petrov, third secretary in the Soviet embassy in Canberra, and his wife, Evdokia. The Soviet secret police, the MVD, attempted to take Evdokia, by force, back to the USSR on a chartered flight, but the Prime Minister, at the time, Robert Menzies, decided that he could not allow her to be removed in this way, and when the aircraft stopped for refuelling at Darwin she was seized from the MVD men by ASIO agents and allowed to stay in Australia.


'The Petrov Affair', the dvd miniseries, was written by Cliff Green (Picnic at Hanging Rock) and produced by Bob Weis, and well worth watching. A bold period in Australian history. But when it got to the hearings of the Royal Commission, who should appear as chief barrister, Ted Hill, but Robert Meldrum, Molly Meldrum's brother! I forgot what a good actor Rob was. As you may know, both Molly and Robert - aka The Meldrumov Brothers - mimed the accordion parts for me in separate video clips of my own international political scandal, 'The Shaddap You Face Affair.'

Recently, I noticed that my name, and Russell Crowe's name, have both appeared in online 'Death Lists'. Here are a couple of samples:

1. George Bush Jnr.
2. Dick Cheney
3. Osama Bin Laden
4. Abu Hamza
5. Jose Mourinho
6. Alex Ferguson
7. Steven Seagal
8. Puff Daddy
9. Russell Crowe
10. Madonna

1. Leslie Nielsen
2. Boris Yeltsin
3. Stirling Moss
4. Prince Michael of Kent
5. Zsa Zsa Gabor
6. Joe Dolce
7. Sheryl Crow
8. Evel Knievel
9. Mark Thatcher
10. Buddy Gask (vocalist, Showaddywaddy)

Nice. And this little gem:

" . .Some massive figures played their part in Rome and Italy's path ­ Constantine, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Joe Dolce, Marcus Aurelius, Russell Crowe and Justinian. And little known figure Pontius Pilate should have had Christ scram out of the Holy Land before the miracle of the resurrection occurred ­ the rest, as they say, is the Papacy. . ." Ramon, Floatinghead

More about Russell, and his music, later. (If either of us survive the fatwas.)


Sign Me Up for the Declaration of Peace!
by John Dear
(The author is a Jesuit priest, activist and the author of over 20 books on peace and justice.)

This summer we've seen several beautiful protests against U.S. warmaking. Friends have been fasting for peace in front of the White House under the banner, "Troops Home Fast." Others have been walking for peace through Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. Eighty five year old Rev. Daniel Berrigan and two dozen others blocked the entrance to the U.S. mission to the United Nations, demanding the closure of Guantanamo, and were arrested and jailed. In New Mexico, we're preparing for the 61st anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima when we'll sit in sackcloth and ashes to repent of the sin of war and nuclear weapons at Los Alamos, where the Bush administration spends billions of dollars on nuclear weapons, and even wants to start pit production next year. Hundreds will join us in Los Alamos on August 6th, including Kathy Kelly and Cindy Sheehan. Everyone is welcome.

But the killing of Iraqi sisters and brothers goes on with no end in sight, even though the polls show that some seventy percent of the U.S. public oppose Bush's war, want the troops brought home, and desire a comprehensive, concrete and rapid withdrawal plan. People from all walks of life are saying, "Bring home the troops; close all U.S. bases in Iraq; fund a peace process for a post-occupation transition; reconstruct Iraq through massive reparations; and spend the hundreds of billions of dollars used to kill Iraqis instead on schools, jobs, healthcare, and low-income housing here at home, including the reconstruction of New Orleans."

For the past few years we have marched, kept vigil, lobbied Congress and prayed for peace in a spirit of nonviolence, as Gandhi and King would advise. But nonviolence is not passive, reactionary, or weak. It requires creativity, assertiveness, and risk-taking. It is stronger than violence, so it takes the lead. It sets the agenda, insists on truth, takes action, and sees through its goal toward new breakthroughs of justice and peace. article



" . . . the monstrous gnome . . . a monkey allowed for a time to give full vent to his tigerish instinct."
Karl Marx, writing about Adolphe Thiers, 'The Civil War in France', 1871


(Note: Hmmmmm . . . sound like anyone else we know?)

My Close Encounters with Nixon, Carter, Bush I, Reagan and Clinton - and How They Did Not Prepare Me for George W. Bush
Amy Goodman Interviews Robert Scheer

We speak with veteran journalist and author Robert Scheer about his new book, "Playing President: My Close Encounters with Nixon, Carter, Bush I, Reagan and Clinton - and How They Did Not Prepare Me for George W. Bush." The Vietnam, War, North Korea, The Cold War and Presidential Power. These are just a few of the topics that veteran journalist Robert Scheer has reported on in his long career. From 1964 to 1969 he was Vietnam correspondent, and editor in chief of Ramparts magazine. From 1976 to 1993 he served as a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and in 1993 Scheer launched a nationally syndicated column based at the LA Times where he was named a contributing editor. Robert Scheer's column ran weekly for 12 years until November of last year when he was fired. Scheer said publicly that he believed his firing was due to ideological reasons and his steady criticism of the Bush administration At the time, Scheer wrote on the Huffington Post blog that "The publisher Jeff Johnson, who has offered not a word of explanation to me, has privately told people that he hated every word that I wrote. I assume that mostly refers to my exposing the lies used by President Bush to justify the invasion of Iraq. Fortunately sixty percent of Americans now get the point but only after tens of thousand of Americans and Iraqis have been killed and maimed as the carnage spirals out of control. My only regret is that my pen was not sharper and my words tougher." article


The following notes were fastened to a defective parking meter with a rubber band:
"I put three dollars in this meter: license number 4761PQ."
"FRD719 - Me, too!"
"So did I - JRY335."
"I'm not going to pay a cent to find out if these guys are lying. WTM259."




The Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) is a reference tool unlike any other. Its aim is not to prescribe how Americans should speak, or even to describe the language we use generally, the "standard" language. Instead, it seeks to document the varieties of English that are not found everywhere in the United States--those words, pronunciations, and phrases that vary from one region to another, that we learn at home rather than at school, or that are part of our oral rather than our written culture. Some examples:

Adam's housecat - 1908 "He wouldn't know me from Adam's housecat" - Gulf States.

Bealing 1824 - An abscess or boil, esp in the ear. "Your negro woman Easther has been verry bad with a bealing on her brest." East Tennessee.

calf-rope, holler 1878, to say uncle. Esp in children's games: to give in, surrender; to capitulate. ' [They] pummeled each other in a friendly way until the challenger, finding that his antagonist had entirely stopped respiration, was forced to "hollow calf-rope," that is, to signify by gestures that he was beaten. '

dew poison 1946 n Any of various rashes or infections of the feet or legs, believed to be caused by dew. " I've seed persons jest a lot o' sores all over, as big as my hand, from dew pizen."

dropped egg 1884 n A poached egg.

feel one's keeping 1927 v phr To be in good health and spirits; to feel confident, ambitious.

first-footer n [N Engl The first person to enter a home on New Year's Day.

flea in one's ear 1822 n A hint, warning, disquieting disclosure; a rebuke. ' If you had taken a friend's advice, you'd never have come away from Doncaster races with a flea in your ear! '

flug 1934 n Dust or lint that collects in pockets, under beds, and in similar places.

french harp harmonica. South.

goozlum 1911 n A viscous food such as a sauce, gravy, or pudding.

honeyfuggle v To hoodwink, entice by flattery

hooky bob v phr, To hold onto a moving vehicle so as to be towed along over snow or ice.


Tobacco Will Kill 1 Billion This Century, Officials Say
Cutting use would have single largest effect on cancer rates
by Andrew Bridges

Curbing tobacco use and taking other steps to eliminate some of the most common risk factors for cancer could save millions of lives in the next few decades, health officials said Monday. Tobacco alone is predicted to kill a billion people this century, 10 times the toll it took in the 20th century, if current trends hold. article


Interesting . . .

" . . . Unnamed dead man in Vermont whose head was cut off and removed from his grave so teenager Nicholas Buckalew could make a bong out of it. Nick told friends he planned to leave the head outside to dry and would then bleach it. A psychiatrist has diagnosed Buckalew with mental health issues. . . "

(Note: 'Mental health issues' is an understatement. Everyone knows you're supposed to bleach the head before you dry it. Otherwise, you ruin your stash.)



Lone Vigil of Man Plucking Heartstrings
Deborah Cameron Herald Correspondent in Tokyo

TWENTY-FIVE years ago Tetsuro Tanaka was fired from his job as an engineer for refusing to join in with compulsory morning callisthenics. Since then, every single working day, he has gone to the company gate at 8am to sing protest songs for half an hour. Once a month, on the day of his sacking, he sings all day.

Dressed in a black cowboy hat, wearing dark glasses and with a megaphone and battery pack, Mr Tanaka, 58, is a troubadour for the times. Wielding his guitar, he sings of familiar themes: misused corporate power, union disintegration, the collapse of mateship and the loneliness of the sacked worker.

"Never once in 25 years has anyone asked me what I am doing," he said yesterday. article

There's an audio link on the above site to Tetsuro Tanaka singing a little of one of his songs in English, 'The Bridge': audio
(thanks to Russell Hannah.)



From: dolchai@egat.or.th Subject: Virility Patch will make your penis noticeable from the distance of 1 mile

"As humanity increases its impact on its environment, as it enlarges this environment, and as the same humanity acquires more and more power over itself, the species disturbs the equilibria in which it lives. Cultural and political movements try to restore earlier equilibria or to promote higher equilibria on a more global scale. Theoretical and applied ecology, including human ecology, offer a theoretical framework. New facts and theories have to be developed (a theory about the self-regulation of the global biosphere or the total planet is needed). New values are discovered (the intrinsic worth of non-human species and of physical landscapes). Old and new values enter into conflict with each other (ecocentrism versus anthropocentrism)."

(Note: So in the above scenario, obviously, the large penised man is at an advantage??? They say that blood either goes to your John Henry or your brain. I think this fellow has had his dick patch on a bit toooooo long. Either that or he's discovered an incredible WMD (Willie of Mass Destruction.) Imagine dropping these patches over a camouflaged enemy position. You'd be able to spot them all in no time.)

The French Harp (1891)

"French" was often used in the US South to mean "European" and although harmonicas were mostly made in Germany, they wound up being called French Harps* (compare with the Irish Gaelic term below). This term was most popular in the South, with the term mouth harp being preferred in the "Midland" area (Indiana, Ohio and Illinois) and mouth organ in the Northern tier and Canada, with French speaking Canada often using the term musique a bouche.

In other parts of the world, the harmonica is known as:

ruines babines ("ruins the lips") - France
fidil fhrancach (Gaelic for "French fiddle") - Ireland
moothie - Scotland
gaita (also used to refer to bagpipes and various other instruments) - various Spanish/Portuguese-speaking countries
fotzhobel (literally "mouth plane", also used to denote the panpipes) - various German-speaking countries
muzicuta - Romania
Mississippi saxophone, Louisiana saxophone - various parts of the USA
harpoon - various parts of the USA
gob iron - various parts of the UK
tin sandwich - widespread


The Alan G. Bates Harmonica Collection


The Alan G. Bates Harmonica Collection contains a fascinating and eclectic assortment of more than 2,500 instruments, display cases and harmonica-related ephemera. 

During the 175 years since its invention in the form we know it today, the harmonica has been called a pocket piano, a french harp, a band in your pocket and just plain harp for short. Favorites included harmonicas that didn't look much like what most people think of when they hear the word.  To sell more harmonicas and remain competitive, the hundreds of mostly German makers dressed up the exteriors of their instruments by adding bells, or horns or fancy metal side plates. site



' There is a type of human behaviour that only happens occasionally. It's called "acting" and it's what criminals, liars and motion picture stars do when they want to convince us they are that which they are not.' Jack Marx


There is a funny and tragic article that is well-worth a look, by a journalist named Jack Marx - who was invited into Crowe's inner sanctums, both in Sydney and to his farm in NSW, for extended inside chats. The article is titled: "I Was Russell Crowe's Stooge".

(There is also an extensive online blog debating the pros and cons of this article: blog)

This amazing piece actually deconstructs both the world of the movie star - and the world of the journalist - although I'm sure the latter was not the author's intention.

There are some slightly paranoid presumptions. The first presumption is in the last enigmatic email Crowe sent to Marx - after Marx wrote something that Crowe didnt like and felt was a betrayal. The email said simply:

"Michael Castellano, the subject of the song 'Mickey'. Born in Staten Island to a mafia family... he makes a fascinating story teller."

Apparently, it appears Marx got very concerned that this might be some kind of veiled threat or something. At first, I though perhaps it was, too - some wise guy that Crowe had met along the way, who was connected, bearing the unspoken message: 'Try writing some crap about THIS guy and see what happens to you, mate.'

But after doing a little homework, it appears that Michael Castellano simply worked as Crowe's costumer and dresser on many of his films (Master and Commander, Gladiator, The Insider) and Crowe genuinely liked and respected him, as evidenced from the notes for the song he wrote about him, 'Mickey.' I personally think he was just trying to connect these two guys together as a nice gesture. No malevolence intended. '(Mickey' lyrics and story)

Also, out of curiosity, while reading through the other song lyrics on Crowe's website, I came across this touching story he wrote as a preface for a song about his mother's sister, Raewyn, who committed suicide. This piece of writing really moved me. ('Raewyn' lyrics and story)

After reading this, it was then that I had an insight about what Russell Crowe was trying to do in his music - and why he is probably not getting it right.

Firstly, there is no rage, expansive emotional range or physicality in Crowe's musical personae. Yet, his FILM personae makes abundant use all that. Like most musical hobbyists (myself included, sometimes) I think Crowe retreats into his music as a kind of calm-down time in his private life - to mellow out and to relax. Personally, I would encourage him to let the beast loose a little more - in the music. Think Kurt Cobain. Think Jimi Hendrix. Some screamin' and shoutin'. Humour wouldn't hurt either. That's why he is boring to listen to as a musician, but fascinating to watch as an actor. 'Romper Stomper' has left the building when Crowe picks up the guitar. I think it will only be after he has genuinely worked a wider spectrum into and throughout his music, will he be able to break through the other side to access the tenderness he wants to communicate. Also, he has to learn to be more of a musical COMPOSER - not just singing story raves over C G and D chords. Write some melodies, mate, that can stand on their own as tunes. Songwriting is not just about talking over chords, although these days, hip hop may make you believe otherwise.

I do think that Crowe has a gift as a writer. The notes to the song, 'Raewyn' are sincere. Therefore, he knows how to communicate with the written word. This is why I feel that he has something important to say. I'm just not sure if he has the songwriting ability at the present to make the transition from storyteller to lyricist. Maybe it will come with perseverance. I hope so.
His wife, Danielle Spencer, is a really good singer with an excellent sense of harmony. So why aren't they joining forces to make great music together NOW? If you love someone, work with them! None of the rest of it - what others think - matters a damn. There could be a strong musical synergy between the two of them that could surprise a lot of people.
Danielle Spencer MySpace



A gorgeous young redhead goes into the doctor's office and said that her body hurt wherever she touched it.
"Impossible!" says the doctor. "Show me."
The redhead took her finger, pushed on her left breast and screamed, then she pushed her elbow and screamed even more. She pushed her knee and screamed; likewise she pushed her ankle and screamed.
Everywhere she touched made her scream.
The doctor said, "You're not really a redhead, are you?
"Well, no" she said, "I'm actually a blonde."
"I thought so," the doctor said. "Your finger is broken."



Hate Groups Are Infiltrating the Military, Group Asserts
By John Kifner
The New York Times

An article in the National Alliance magazine Resistance urged skinheads to join the Army and insist on being assigned to light infantry units. The Southern Poverty Law Center identified the author as Steven Barry, who it said was a former Special Forces officer who was the alliance's "military unit coordinator."
 "Light infantry is your branch of choice because the coming race war and the ethnic cleansing to follow will be very much an infantryman's war," he wrote. "It will be house-to-house, neighborhood-by-neighborhood until your town or city is cleared and the alien races are driven into the countryside where they can be hunted down and 'cleansed.' " He concluded: "As a professional soldier, my goal is to fill the ranks of the United States Army with skinheads. As street brawlers, you will be useless in the coming race war. As trained infantrymen, you will join the ranks of the Aryan warrior brotherhood." article


(So in the spirit of helping to train some of these young Aryan brothers, here is one of the first things you need to know how to do:)

How To Fold a Shirt

Stop wasting time folding shirts the normal way! How to Fold a Shirt shows you the latest techniques and tricks to fold t-shirts, sweaters, dress shirts and more; the RIGHT way! site



Penne with Olives and Peas

250 g penne
half cup pitted black olives, sliced in half
2 tbles tomato paste, mixed in half cup water
half cup white wine
red chilli flakes
1 cup freshly shelled peas
salt, pepper and sugar
olive oil
2 anchovies
parsely, finely chopped
parmesean cheese

Bring water to rolling boil and add penne, stirring occaissionally. Cook peas until tender but not overcooked. Put some olive oil in fry pan over medium heat. Mash up anchovies in oil until completely dissolved and cook for a few minutes. Add tomato paste and water, and white wine, and simmer for a few minutes until the alchohol is evaporated. Add olives, red chili flakes, salt, sugar and pepper to taste. Add the peas last. When the penne is cooked al dente, add to the pan with the sauce and toss until well coated. Serve with parmesean cheese and parsley sprinkled on top. For added decoration, place some single peas in the upturned cut olives and garnish on the plate.


Instructions to Painters & Poets
I asked a hundred painters and a hundred poets
how to paint sunlight
on the face of life
Their answers were ambiguous and ingenuous
as if they were all guarding trade secrets
Whereas it seems to me
all you have to do
is conceive of the whole world
and all humanity
as a kind of art work
a site-specific art work
an art project of the god of light
the whole earth and all that's in it
to be painted with light
And the first thing you have to do
is paint out postmodern painting
And the next thing is to paint yourself
in your true colors
in primary colors
as you seem them
(without whitewash)
paint yourself as you see yourself
without make-up
without masks
Then paint your favorite people and animals
with your brush loaded with light
And be sure you get the perspective right
and don't fake it
because one false line leads to another
And don't forget to paint
all those who lived their lives
as bearers of light
Paint their eyes
and the eyes of every animal
and the eyes of beautiful women
known best for the perfection of their breasts
and the eyes of men and women
known only for the light of their minds
Paint the light of their eyes
the light of sunlit laughter
the song of eyes
the song of birds in flight
And remember that the light is within
if it is anywhere
and you must paint from the inside
~ Lawrence Ferlinghetti ~
 (How to Paint Sunlight)






The Final Hurrah

Blues Rules No 18
Some Blues names for men:
a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie

(Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Jennifer, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.)