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Friday June 1st, 2007

Pray for Rain

" Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the roar of its many waters." Frederick Douglass, African-American abolitionist pioneer, 1818-1895


Dear folks,

I had a dream the other night that Sting rang me up on the phone. (I'm serious.)
"It's Sting."
" Is this THE 'Sting' Sting?"
In my dream, I was trying to impress on him that I, too, was working with classical forms, but feeling awfully guilty for the 'review' I was about to print, of his recent album of John Dowland music, 'Songs from the Labyrinth.' I woke up the next morning pretty much determined not to go ahead with the review.
But when the nightmare wore off, and having re-read what I originally wrote, I have decided to go ahead and print it anyway. I guess I'm not going to make any new Tuscan friends this way, folks, but I am being honest. The strangest thing is that my two-part article (last week on Paul McCartney) is subtitled: 'Dust Off the Guillotine.' As you will see down further, Sting's wife, Trudy Styler, just recently, and quite co-incidentally, announced to the press:'I am NOT Marie Antoinette!' when a tribunal ruling went against her for allegedly unfair dismissal of a former employee. (I wonder if these two get my newsletter? I wonder if I am still going to get that phone call?)

Friends, do you realize that within one year, Tony Blair, George W Bush and, most likely, John Howard will no longer be with us? I'd like to think that that means 'Hope' but then I recollect what I heard from the guy ahead of me in the voting queue last year: Same Circus, Different Clowns. Politicians. To paraphrase Steven Wright: '99 percent of politicians give the rest a bad name.' We always have to keep one eye open for an unexpected recurrence of Chicken-Politician Virus.


Speaking of cartoons characters, I also saw recently that Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, has been using a Mickey Mouse puppet look-a-like named Farfour to preach anti-Jewish and anti-US propaganda to children. Farfou means butterfly. (Hello? Isn't there a word for mouse in Arabic? 'Little humpless camel', or something like that?)

Disney's Curious Silence
By Yves Mamou
Le Monde

The American Disney Group is renowned for the pitiless battle it conducts against copyright infringers. Its battalions of lawyers fight hand to hand against all fraudulent use of the characters that have made its fortune: Donald, Minnie, Uncle Scrooge.... But when the Islamic resistance movement Hamas chose to clone Mickey to animate a propaganda program targeted at children (Le Monde of May 16, 2007), the American communications group refrained from taking any action in response.
The Israeli government, a number of humanitarian organizations - Jewish and non-Jewish - the international press and even Fatah have protested against the puppet Farfour - a Mickey clone - who converses every Friday with a little girl named Saraa on the Hamas-controlled Al-Aqsa channel. The program is called "The Pioneers of Tomorrow," and the statements are rarely innocuous: "You must not forget your prayers nor to go to Mosque five times every day. And you must put yourself on the frontlines until we rule the world," Farfour insists. Or: "Such is Allah's will: this country, its children, its men and women, its elderly, we will conquer; we will conquer Bush; we will conquer Sharon! Uh, Sharon is dead! We will conquer Olmert! We will conquer Condoleezza ..." (article)

Palestinian Media Watch site, Videos and Transcripts:

Kookaburra in the Coal Mine
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t | Environmental Editor

A recent trip to Australia to cover a conference on agrichar allowed me to see the Australian drought crisis on the ground and talk to a few Australians about their thoughts on climate change. Agrichar is an agricultural technique that sequesters carbon.
The conference took place in Terrigal, New South Wales, a beach town just north of Sydney. Out on the blue horizon, I could see an endless train of coal ships headed for the booming economies of Asia. Coal is Australia's No. 1 export and a mainstay of the economy. But at the same time, as a major contributor to global warming, it is undermining almost every other source of wealth in the country.
A few days after I arrived, Prime Minister John Howard suggested a solution for the multi-year drought that is shriveling Australia's farmland: "Pray for rain," he said. Only a superabundance of rain can head off the government's plans to cut off irrigation to thousands of farms that are dependent on Australia's largest river system, the Murray-Darling basin.
Howard is not willing to admit, however, that global warming is the cause of the drought. At most, he says "there does appear to be a change in the weather pattern." He said Australia might be "going back to a drier period," but he is conspicuously alone in that assessment. Unlike hurricane Katrina, whose global warming origins were more strongly debated, most Australians blame the drought on human-caused climate change . . .
. . . . . Gough Whitlam's government was elected in 1972, the first Labor government in 23 years. One of the first things Whitlam did was to pull Australia out of Vietnam. He also demanded more information about secretive US military installations in the outback, including a nuclear facility at a place called Pine Gap. The US grew concerned that Whitlam would close its bases in Australia, and launched what [John] Pilger calls a "coup," that resulted in Whitlam's ouster in 1975.
Pilger does a meticulous job of documenting the details of the CIA's campaign against Whitlam. It's a chilling story ['A Secret Country'] involving letter bombs, ginned-up scandals, bought-off union leaders, opposition campaign slush funds and plenty of help from Rupert Murdoch's newspapers. You can also read a shorter version of the story in William Blum's "Killing Hope."
In a March 2007 article in the New Statesman titled, "Australia: the 51st State," John Pilger describes Murdoch's continuing influence, especially his support for the conservative John Howard and for Australia's involvement in the US war in Iraq. But now we hear that Murdoch has gone green. . . . (article)


Bill Lempke pointed out recently that in the USA, at three minutes and four seconds after 2 AM on the 6th of May this year, the time and date was sequenced in this unusual way:

02:03:04 05/06/07

Now in Australia, as we reverse the month and day, the above will happen for us, next week, on the 5th of June. But we will also see a similar sequence on the following dates:

03:04:05 06/07/08
04:05:06 07/08/09
05:06:07 08/09/10
06:07:08 09/10/11
07:08:09 10/11/12
08:09:10 11/12/13

not to mention the reverse:

12:11:10 09/08/07
13:12:11 10/09/08
14:13:12 11/10/09
15:14:13 12/11/10
16:15:14 13/12/11

And then, of course, the whole thing, backwards and forwards, happens again every hundred years after that.

A 'Ho' By Any Other Color:
The History and Economics of Black Female Sexual Exploitation
By Dr. Edward Rhymes, Black Agenda Report

Don Imus in his "apology" . . say[s] that the term "ho" didn't originate in the white community, but rather in the Black community. As the term "ho" is a variation of the word "whore" (a word not foreign to the American lexicon and indeed has been used with great frequency in the white community), that assertion does not hold water. So once again, what is endemic in American society is viewed as a specific "Black" identifier or just a "Black thing." That would be the equivalent of saying that the first person to call the television a TV undeniably invented it or the individual who first referred to the automobile as a car, now holds the patent to the creation. However, let it be understood, this truth does not excuse or exonerate sexist hip-hop from its shameful contribution to the debasement of women.
In regard to gender, there have been two, pronounced, conflicting and unjust narratives concerning female sexuality in America. Although all women who were viewed or accused as loose or promiscuous faced the ire and consternation of a (predominantly white) male-dominated society, there has always been this duplicitous racial application of the penalties incurred for committing perceived "moral" crimes against society. Historically, White women, as a category, have been portrayed as examples of self-respect, self-control, and modesty -- even sexual purity -- but Black women were often (and still are) portrayed as innately promiscuous, even predatory. I would like to focus on the various ways White female sexual promiscuity has been viewed, recognized and oft-times celebrated in today's media and in popular culture.
In her publication, "Female Chauvinist Pigs," New York magazine writer Ariel Levy argues that the recent trend for soft-porn styling in everything from music videos to popular TV is reducing female sexuality to its basest levels. In short: "A tawdry, tarty, cartoon-like version of female sexuality has become so ubiquitous, it no longer seems particular." (article)

(thanks to Stefan Abeysekera)

"Good Riddance Attention Whore"
By Cindy Sheehan

" . . .[my son] died for a country which cares more about who will be the next AMERICAN IDOL than how many people will be killed in the next few months . . " Cindy Sheehan

    I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called "Face" of the American anti-war movement. Especially since I renounced any tie I have remaining with the Democratic Party, I have been further trashed on such "liberal blogs" as the Democratic Underground. Being called an "attention whore" and being told "good riddance" are some of the more milder rebukes.
 I have come to some heartbreaking conclusions this Memorial Day Morning. These are not spur of the moment reflections, but things I have been meditating on for about a year now. The conclusions that I have slowly and very reluctantly come to are very heartbreaking to me.
The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a "tool" of the Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our "two-party" system?
However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the "left" started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of "right or left", but "right and wrong."
 I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike. It amazes me that people who are sharp on the issues and can zero in like a laser beam on lies, misrepresentations, and political expediency when it comes to one party refuse to recognize it in their own party. Blind party loyalty is dangerous whatever side it occurs on. People of the world look on us Americans as jokes because we allow our political leaders so much murderous latitude and if we don't find alternatives to this corrupt "two" party system our Representative Republic will die and be replaced with what we are rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland. I am demonized because I don't see party affiliation or nationality when I look at a person, I see that person's heart. If someone looks, dresses, acts, talks and votes like a Republican, then why do they deserve support just because he/she calls him/herself a Democrat?
I have also reached the conclusion that if I am doing what I am doing because I am an "attention whore" then I really need to be committed. I have invested everything I have into trying to bring peace with justice to a country that wants neither. If an individual wants both, then normally he/she is not willing to do more than walk in a protest march or sit behind his/her computer criticizing others. I have spent every available cent I got from the money a "grateful" country gave me when they killed my son and every penny that I have received in speaking or book fees since then. I have sacrificed a 29 year marriage and have traveled for extended periods of time away from Casey's brother and sisters and my health has suffered and my hospital bills from last summer (when I almost died) are in collection because I have used all my energy trying to stop this country from slaughtering innocent human beings. I have been called every despicable name that small minds can think of and have had my life threatened many times.
The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have tried every since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. (article)

Dying for an Iraq That Isn't
By Harold Meyerson
The Washington Post

Of all the absurdities attending our unending war in Iraq, the greatest is this: We are fighting to defend that which is not there.
We are fighting for a national government that is not national but sectarian, and has shown no capacity to govern. We are training Iraq's security forces to combat sectarian violence though those forces are thoroughly sectarian and have themselves engaged in large-scale sectarian violence. We are fighting for a nonsectarian, pluralistic Iraq, though whatever nonsectarian and pluralistic institutions existed before our invasion have long since been blasted out of existence. In the December 2005 parliamentary elections, the one nonsectarian party, which ran both Shiite and Sunni candidates, won just 8 percent of the vote.
Every day, George W. Bush asks young Americans to die in defense of an Iraq that has ceased to exist (if it ever did) in the hearts and minds of Iraqis. What Iraqis believe in are sectarian or tribal Iraqs - a Shiite Iraq, a Sunni Iraq, an autonomous Kurdish Iraqi state, an Iraq where Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani or Moqtada al-Sadr or some other chieftain holds sway.
These are the Iraqs for which Iraqis are willing to kill and die.
Whatever their merits and their shortcomings, they are at least rooted in reality. These Iraqs have adherents and territory. The Iraq for which Bush compels Americans to fight has neither. (article)

Multi-media graphic that outlines an overview of US machinations pre-9-11 through to the present.



Songs and Music By John Dowland, performed by Sting and Edin Karamzov.


"[Dowland] was all ambition and hatred, yet his ayres were as delicate as rain". Christian IV, of Denmark

I first came across the 16th century lutenist and songwriter, John Dowland, about twenty years ago, on some ethereal recordings made by pioneering counter-tenor, Alfred Deller, one of my favourite singers. I have always admired Dowland's song writing - one hundred years before JS Bach - and I also assumed, from Alfred Deller's interpretations, that his solo songs were intended for castrati and, in modern times, counter-tenors. When I heard that Sting had recorded them, in his tenor voice, I was impressed that he even knew who Dowland was and even liked the music enough to learn to play the lute and even record an album of the songs. I was also sceptical from the get-go that he could sing these songs. He's not a counter-tenor. Or castrato. (Well . . . . as far as I know. I've heard that that Kundalinguini stuff Sting practices can really mess with your fishing equipment.)
Anyway, I bought the Sting recording against my better judgement. And the DVD as well. (You might well ask at this point: do I even have any better judgement? And if so, do I ever listen to it? Good questions.) I do work at keeping an open mind so I was willing to trust and I put my money where my mouth was. I met Sting once in Germany back in the 80s, when he was in The Police, on the equivilant of 'Countdown' or 'Solid Gold' over there: 'Musikladen'. We joked around in the greenroom. He was cordial and polite. He even started singing 'Shaddap You Face' when he saw me. (The Police had ' Da doo doo doo, Da da da da' out at the time - another lyric profundis!) I mean, I don't have all the answers. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you can be wealthy beyond anyone's earthly needs ($300 + million pounds) and still be a musical genius. I doubt it.
Folks, this dvd - a look inside Sting's creative process in making this record - gives me the strangest feeling. I can't put my finger on it but you will see what I mean when and if you watch it. It's creepy. I have always believed that his wife, Trudy Styler, is the REAL centre, at least as far as family and wealth-building, but she is conspicuously absent throughout the DVD, even though lot of time is spent in their home. (There is one fleeting glance of her in the gardens.) The lute player on this record, Edin Karamazov, is one of the best I have ever heard. And Sting's spoken bits are beguiling . . . at first. They remind me of what my partner Lin and I do in, DIFFICULT WOMEN, especially in our Virginia Woolf vignettes, 'A Room of One's Own', recorded in 1993, with its counterpoint Elizabethan guitar playing. But lacking the DEPTH!
The excerpts that Sting has chosen to recite, from a letter of Dowland's, are mercantile and not worthy to be on the same record as Dowland's beautiful songs. The language is elegant, true - stylistically of the times, but the sentiment is petty. In a nutshell, Dowland is trying to convince Sir Robet Cecil, Queen Elizabeth's Chief of Homeland Security, that he is still a patriot, and not a spy. (Even though he rejected England to seek work, money and praise overseas: Dowland didn't get the musical appointment he was counting on, as one of the Queen's lutenists, putting it down to religious differences with Her Majesty, so he jumped country for greener pastures.) Most of the excerpts are Dowland coyly boasting to Sir Cecil about how much people love him over THERE. But he suggests to Sir Cecil, in so many words, that he would throw it all in and return willingly if a prime position was offered to him back in England. He's also prepared to snitch on his current employers for love of Queen and Country. These are the kind of fellows you line up against the wall where I come from. I like Dowland's song writing - but I don't think much of him as a person. This is also evidenced by this remark from one of his own royal employers, Christian IV of Denmark: "[Dowland] was all ambition and hatred, yet his ayres were as delicate as rain". (And this was one of the guys who liked him?) Dowland returned to England in 1606 and in 1612, finally secured a post as one of James I's lutenists. Interestingly there are no compositions dating from the moment of his royal appointment until his death in London in 1626. Fourteen years of silence. So what's that about? They had to prise the blinkin' quills out of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart's hands in their coffins. Maybe, having achieved his ambitions, Dowland no longer felt melancholy?
My favourite two songs on this album are 'Bright Lily Grow' (which, strangely, is the only song that Dowland didn't write!) and the awesome lute instrumental ' Forlorn Hope Fancy,' played by Edin Karamzov. Beautiful and oblique chromatic writing for the 1500s. Sting is credited with actually playing lute accompaniment on the album - he's photographed holding one on the cover - but his playing is so minimal as to be non-existent.
Here's the main failing of the project: Dowland's songs are supposed to be infused with melancholy. This is a serious and mature emotion that has the potential to make a weeping mess out of you. This was the poet CP Cafavy's domain, as well, so I'm familiar somewhat with this powerful emotion in song, having worked with Cavafy's poetry for over thirty years. When counter-tenor, Alfred Deller sings John Dowland's material, his renditions often actually make you weep real tears - but that never happens with Sting's interpretations. You go, 'hmmmm, interesting.' 'Soulful.' 'Ummm, that's a strange way he pronounced that word.' Sting's voice never loosens your emotions to catharsis like Deller's. And just when you do start to drift off, then he whacks something in that sounds like Freddy Mercury in Queen singing 'Bohemian Rhapsody'!
Ironically, but also symbolically, Sting is building an actual 40 foot diameter labyrinth in his garden - but it's only a baby labyrinth so far, about six inches tall - more like a drawing of a labyrinth. He can actually hop over the sides! He probably should have waited five to ten years, until the hedges grew up, ominously sealing in and creating the mystery of a true labyrinth - implying death and minotaurs lurking around corners and of wandering lost forever - and spent all that hedge-growing time actually learning to play Dowland's lute parts, as well as singing the songs. THAT would have been an impressive and progressive achievement.


" STING's wife TRUDIE STYLER has criticised a tribunal ruling which she insists wrongly portrayed her as a modern-day Marie Antoinette. A legal panel last week found Styler guilty of "shameful conduct" regarding the sacking of former chef Jane Martin, who was dismissed from her GBP28,000 ($56,000) a year post after eight year's service. But Styler insists she was misrepresented at the tribunal and was the victim of an attack on her character - which she believes saw her wrongfully portrayed as the indulgent 18th century French monarch. She says, "It was as if the chairman of the tribunal viewed me as Marie Anoinette, reclining on my chaise longue, issuing forth imperious commands from my boudoir. "(The ruling) was a terrible decision (and an) extraordinary travesty. (It read as if) I was this lofty presence, given to grandiose pretension and unthinkingly lavish gestures." (article)

(Stay tuned to see how this drama unfolds in the coming month.)

Tequila Challenge

A guy walks into a bar, notices a very large jar on the counter, and sees it's filled to the brim with $10 bills. He guesses there must be a few Thousand dollars in it. He approaches the bartender and asks, "What's with the jar?"  
"Well, you pay $10 and if you pass three tests, you get all the money and the keys to a brand new Corvette Z06."
The man certainly isn't going to pass this up. "What are the three tests?"
"Pay first, those are the rules," says the bartender. So the man gives him the $10 and the bartender drops it into the jar.
"Ok," the bartender says, "Here's what you need to do: First, you have to drink that entire litre of pepper tequila, the whole thing, all at once and you can't make a face while doing it. Second, there's a pit bull chained-up out back with a sore tooth. You have to remove the tooth with your bare hands. Third, there's a 90-year old woman upstairs who has never had an orgasm. You've gotta make things right for her."
The man is stunned. "I know I paid my $10, but I'm not an idiot! I won't do it! You have to be nuts to drink a litre of pepper tequila, and then do those other things..."
"Your call," says the bartender, "but your money stays where it is." As time goes on and the man has a few drinks, then a few more, he asks, "Where ez zat tequila?"
He grabs the litre with both hands and downs it with a big slurp. Tears stream down both cheeks, but he doesn't make a face. Next, he staggers out back where the pit bull is chained up and soon the people inside the bar hear a huge, noisy, scuffle going on outside. They hear the pit bull barking, the guy screaming, the pit bull yelping and then... silence. Just when they think the man surely must be dead, he staggers back into the bar, with his shirt ripped and large bloody scratches all over his body.
"Now," he says, "Where's the old woman with the sore tooth?"
(thanks to Ramon Sender)

Longest Pizza in the World; Certified Guiness World Record
May 12, 2007 - Gavirote, Italy


There is a new official Guiness record for the longest pizza ever to be served: 264 meters. It happened Sunday afternoon after a conveyor pizza oven cooked a continual sheet of sauce and cheese-covered dough at a Lungalago landing in Gavirote Italy.
PMQ Pizza Magazine was on hand to video record and photograph the event along with Guiness record-keeping officials who witness the five hour struggle against the threat of rain, over expanded dough, and a 25 degree turn in the pizza path which had to be carefully negotiated.
Coppola Leane, owner of a local pizza store in Gavirote, came up with the idea and had help from over 100 volunteers to bring the record for "Longest Pizza" to Italy . Many spectators and volunteers were on hand to help with the record-setting event in Gavirote, Italy.


* The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
* I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.
* If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?
* When I'm not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded.
* A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.
* Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7th of your life.
* Drugs may lead to nowhere, but at least it's the scenic route.
(thanks to Stephen Ross)

The following is a list of books written by Steven Wright that are available nowhere:

* Phyllis and Her Eyelids: The story of a man living in a semi-parallel universe who is arrested for inventing hockey.
* The Rats and The Scum: History of politicians.
* The Slut and The Monkey: The history of marriage.
* Skip the Wonder Horse: Set in the late 1600's in Holland. The story of a homosexual race horse that can see into the future.
* The Chinese Envelope: Set during the Ming Dynasty. The story of an all-girl school made entirely of mirrors.
* Daddy's Under My Bed: The story of a 90 year old still-born butler who's in love with his own shadow.
* Freud: The story of an insane old man with way too much influence.
* Jesus and Santa Claus: The story of two middleweight boxers in Berlin in the early 1900's.
* The Carnival Man: The history of the world if time didn't exist.
* Pretty Girls: The story of the end of all civilizations and why evolution is a mistake.
* Stanley and the Magic Penny: Hitler's life story if he'd never been born, seen through the eyes of Dorothy Hamill.
* The Tall Blue Cloud: The story of a Cajun menu that tries to take over the world.



This is the first recipe I've come up with using dried chestnuts, a staple of Italian peasant cuisine, available at most Italian shops. The sweeteners in this recipe perfectly reinforce each other: the chestnuts, the marsala, the red onions (and the balsamic of the salad.)

thinly pounded veal slices
flour, for dredging
Marsala wine
good olive oil
fresh coriander
half of red onion, diced very finely
half clove of garlic, minced
green part of scallion
1 cup dried chestnuts
half red chili, sliced
1 large white mushroom or a dozen button mushrooms
salt and pepper

Soak the dried chestnuts overnight in water.
Next day, drain and put in a pot with fresh water to cover by two inches. Bring to a boil and then simmer on medium heat for about an hour until tender. Drain, cut each chestnut in half and set aside.

Heat about a half cup of olive oil in a large pan. Spread some flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Dip the veal slices in flour and brown in the oil on both sides. Don't crowd in the pan. Lift out and set aside on a plate. Add the diced onions, red chili, garlic, mushrooms and chestnuts to the pan and fry for a few minutes until the mushrooms are golden. Add about one cup of Marsala and scrape the bits on the bottom of the pan into the sauce. Add the veal to the pan and reduce the liquid until a beautiful gravy forms. If the sauce dries out to quickly, add more marsala. Serve spinkled with the slivers of green scallion and coriander. This dish goes nicely with potato au gratin and a rocket and red chicory salad, tossed in a little olive oil and balsamic.

The Lost Thought  

I felt a cleaving in my mind
As if my brain had split;
I tried to match it, seam by seam,
But could not make them fit.

The thought behind I strove to join
Unto the thought before,
But sequence ravelled out of reach
Like balls upon a floor.

~ Emily Dickinson ~
Amherst 1864

(thanks to Lin Van Hek). MORE about Emily Dickinson.)


Cricket in Heaven

Two ninety year old men, Nev and Vic, have been friends all their lives.
It seems that Vic is dying, and so Nev comes to visit him every day.
"Vic," says Nev, "You know how we have both loved cricket all our lives,
and how we played together for so many years.  Vic, you have to do me one
favour.  When you get to Heaven, and I know you will go to Heaven, somehow
you've got to let me know if there's cricket in Heaven."
Vic looks up at Nev from his death bed, and says, "Nev, you've been my
best friend many years.  This favour, if it is at all possible, I'll do for you."
And shortly after that, Vic passes on.
It is midnight a couple of nights later.
Nev is sound asleep when he is awakened by a blinding flash of white light
and a voice calls out to him, "Nev....Nev...."
"Who is it?" says Nev sitting up suddenly. "Who is it?"
"Nev, it's me, Vic."
"Come on. You're not Vic. Vic just died."
"I'm telling you," insists the voice. "It's me, Vic!"
"Vic? Is that you? Where are you?"
"I'm in heaven," says Vic, "and I've got to tell you, I've got really good
news and a little bad news."
So, tell me the good news first," says Nev.
"The good news is that there is cricket in heaven.  Better yet, all our
old mates who've gone before us are there.  Better yet, we're all young
men again.  Better yet, it's always spring time and it never rains or
snows.  And best of all, we can play cricket all we want, and we never get
Really?" says Nev, "That is fantastic, wonderful beyond my wildest dreams!
But, what's the bad news?"
"Nev, You're opening the batting next Tuesday".
(thanks to Jim Testa)