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Friday June 16th, 2006

The Axis of The Three Stooges

"I wrote a song about dental floss but did anyone's teeth get cleaner?"
Frank Zappa
(Senate Hearing on "Porn Rock", 1985, in response to Tipper Gore's allegations that music incites people towards deviant behavior, or influences their behavior in general.)


Dear Folks,

It was brought to my attention this last week that the FBI's Most Wanted List of Terrorists has Usama Bin Laden at the Number 1 spot, (of course!) but no mention of September 11 as one of his crimes. Under his picture, it has: " Usama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed over 200 people. In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world." That's it. When asked why the crucial 9/11 attack wasn't listed, the FBI's response was: 'We have no hard evidence that Bin Laden was connected to 9/11." Obviously they have enough 'soft 'evidence to justify an attack on Afghanistan, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and a hundred billion dollar escalating war budget. The soft evidence in this case, obviously being the morality of The Axis of The Three Stooges: George W Bush, John Howard and Tony Blair. (And the rest of us, if we let them get away it).
FBI Most Wanted Terrorist List

I've had a copy of Didier Corlou's cookbook, Ma Cuisine de Vietnam, in French, for a couple of years since my partner Lin brought it back for me as a present from North Vietnam. You may recall I printed the great recipe for Pho soup that Corlou taught her at his cooking class in the Metropole Hotel, in a previous newsletter. (Which you can find in the Recipe Archive.) I am planning a trip to Hanoi in the near future to take three or four days of these intensive cooking lessons, but I have only just been getting around to translating this cookbook, recipe by recipe, into English, which is painfully slow, as my French is a bit rusty. To do this, I am employing my own rudimentary French skills (straight A student in Year 12), with an online French-English dictionary, an Alta Vista online language translator, and a technique I discovered myself which is quite effective: using Google Images to find pictures of the words I want the meanings for! It's very fast and a picture says a thousand words. So far, what I have been deciphering from this cookbook is quite surprising and unique. For instance, I wanted to find out about the ingredient, Belostome. Voila:

" Belostome: insecte marecageux de l'ordre des rhynchotes, hemiopteres. On en extrait une glande sexuelle, de la taille d'un grain de sesame, qui contient une essence aromatique. L'insecte lui-meme, grille, est odorant et peu gras."

(It turns out to be a local marsh insect - originally from Madagasgar - whose sexual gland, the size of a sesame seed, is used as an aromatic essence. The entire insect can also be grilled! Hard to find this ingredient in Safeway, I tell you.)


Down below, I have translated for you Corlou's ancient North Vietnamese recipe for 'Dog with Galangal'.

Try this one at home, kids.



Hi Joe,
....Italian blues, huh....well I work for BAR Promotions and we promote Australian blues globally by sending cds of our great aussie blues to over 280 International stations and thought you would be pleased to know that we have just picked up an Italian station called Radio Voce Spazio and its in San Michele (AL) Italy. Please check out our site as we have just won an award from Livin Blues for best blues web site.... see ya Joe,
Jillian Jake
Hi Joe....
I have been enjoying your emails. . . our latest CD, Falling Water River [is] about a soldier who is killed in Iraq and the consequences on his family, community and country.  I sent a copy to Cindy Sheehan's Gold Star Families for Peace. . .   Our Sonicbids EPK (below) has some of the cuts from Falling Water River there for you to listen to. All the best,
Marty McCormack
Sonicbids EPK



Directed by Steven Spielberg

"We eventually become that which we despise." unknown

The world was watching in 1972 as 11 Israeli athletes were murdered at the Munich Olympics. This is the story of what happened next. Based on the true story of the Black September aftermath, about the five men chosen to eliminate the ones responsible for that fateful day.

" . .Gandhi said, "An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind." What distinguishes justice from vengeance? This echoes throughout Steven Spielberg's "Munich". "Munich" is powerful and perhaps Spielberg's most compelling and thought provoking work. He weaves a tapestry of political and social threads focusing on terrorism and the cost of violence. "Munich" is truly amazing in balancing linear storytelling and horrific acts of violence, demonstrating the impact of the aftermath. Mossad team leader Avner played by Eric Bana is absolutely riveting as the man who begins this righteous cause only to find that the cost is his soul. Anver asks, "When does it ever end?" . . ."

There has been mixed reviews about this film but I think it is fabulous. The screenplay is by Tony Kushner who wrote the brilliant Pulitzer Prize winning play, 'Angels in America'. I had previously read the book, 'Striking Back,' by Aaron Klein, about this manhunt, which I liked so much that I gave a copy to one of my sons. But the film brings out something even stronger: the moral ambiguity, and even vacuity, of the concept of an eye for an eye. To seek revenge and 'justice', the Israeli commandos break every law of man and God, including their own, to track down and kill these people, violating laws of every country they have to, to achieve their objectives. Vigilantism, pure and simple. And a futile endeavour, as they have to supply vast sums of Israeli taxpayer money to the most corrupt underworld organisations to even get their information, and every terrorist they eventually find and kill is immediately replaced by a stronger and smarter one. This film - like 'Lord of War' which I recommended last week - is another example of the real life conspiracies that are going around us as we speak. No paranoia intended. Just keep your eyes open. Also a demonstration of the ignorance, and ineffectiveness, of the Old Testament concept of vengeance as the driving principle of justice.


"Of course, let us have peace," we cry, "but at the same time let us have normalcy, let us lose nothing, let our lives stand intact, let us know neither prison nor ill repute nor disruption of ties ... " There is no peace because there are no peacemakers. There are no makers of peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war - at least as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison, and death in its wake."  Dan Berrigan


Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Threatens to Explode
By Dion Nissenbaum

Jerusalem - Israel and the Palestinians edged closer to open warfare Tuesday after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City killed at least eight innocent bystanders. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the attack as "state terror" and accused Israel of trying to "wipe out the Palestinian people." Later, Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz expressed his regrets that civilians had been killed.
But no statement of regret was likely to cool passions. In the past week Israel has stepped up attacks on the Gaza Strip, Hamas has ended its 16-month cease-fire with the Jewish nation and Palestinian infighting is threatening to spark a civil war.
Renewed fighting between Israel and the Palestinians, coupled with the U.S. military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, could give more ammunition to Islamic militants who argue that Christians and Jews are waging a war against Islam.
The rising tensions between Palestinians and Israelis prompted an independent research center to warn that the conflict was careering toward a "catastrophic breakdown." article

Don't Forget Those Other 27,000 Nukes
by Hans Blix
Hans Blix is a former chief UN weapons inspector.


" . . . While it's desirable that the foreign ministers talk about Iran, they don't seem to devote any thought to the fact that there are still some 27,000 real nuclear weapons in the United States, Russia and other states, and that many of these are on hair-trigger alert.

Nor do the ministers seem to realize that the determination they express to reduce the nuclear threat is diminished by their failure to take seriously their commitment, made within the framework of the NPT, to move toward the reduction and elimination of their own nuclear arsenals.

The stagnation in global disarmament is only part of the picture. In the United States, military authorities want new types of nuclear weapons; in Britain, the government is considering the replacement, at tremendous cost, of one generation of nuclear weapons by another - as defense against whom? article

The 'Reliable Replacement Warhead'

Rival US Labs in Arms Race to Build Safer Nuclear Bomb
By Ralph Vartabedian

In the Cold War arms race, scientists rushed to build thousands of warheads to counter the Soviet Union. Today, those scientists are racing once again, but this time to rebuild an aging nuclear stockpile.
Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico are locked in an intense competition with rivals at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Bay Area to design the nation's first new nuclear bomb in two decades. article

US Insists on Right to Develop Arms for Outer Space
by Stephanie Nebehay

 GENEVA - The United States on Tuesday reasserted its right to develop weapons for use in outer space to protect its military and commercial satellites and ruled out any global negotiations on a new treaty to limit them. In a speech to the Conference on Disarmament, a senior State Department arms control official insisted that such weapons systems would be purely defensive.article

North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Candidate Claims 'The Beast' Has Infiltrated Every Level Of Society
By Greg Szymanski

(Rachel Lea Hunter is one of the most endangered species in America: Someone who will make an honest judge.)

" . . . The beast craves power and control and it cannot tolerate any loss of the same," said Hunter in Part I of a two part article that can be read in its entirety at http://www.rachelforjustice.com.  "Every once in awhile, however, the beast lets one person get through the cracks. The individual that succeeds is often marginalized and rendered ineffective . . .
. . . Think things will really change if we put Democrats in power? Think again. Oh, they will no doubt begin impeachment in Washington and that would be a good start, but things will not really change in our government and in our society. Most of us are too busy worrying about who is on Survivor, who will win American Idol or the latest pretty white woman that was killed or abducted to pay much attention to what the beast is really doing. The rest of us are pitted against each other in race and class warfare as the beast hopes to keep us distracted and too busy fighting each other so we will not fight back." article



Mrs. Betty Bowers Reviews "Godless" by Ann Coulter


" This week, sweet Ann Coulter released her latest in a series of pre-rehab books, entitled Godless.  Naturally, the title led me to believe that it was an unexpectedly candid autobiography.  Alas, she may be saving that book until after she's been strapped to a bed at Hazelden for a month.  Instead of using this book to dabble in the bracing novelty of introspection, Miss Coulter turns her two-setting mind ("off" and "off her rocker") to hector us about religion.  

Let's be honest: Reading a book about religion from Ann Coulter is tantamount to reading a book about dieting from Michael Moore. After all, who wants to be lectured about not being Christian enough by an almost-50 year-old boozehound in a black leather miniskirt who has never been married?  Count me as having a healthy skepticism over whether Miss Coulter has saved herself for marriage.  Or anything, for that matter.

In Godless, Miss (oh, how it pains me to refer to that serially-rejected spinster as "Miss," but something Miss Coulter usually eschews -- accuracy -- compels me) Coulter turns her shrill furnace of brayed invective, fueled by a bottomless quarry of prickly psychological damage, at the most despicable people in the world.  No, not the maniacal murderers who flew planes into the World Trade Center towers, but the blameless Americans who had their flesh burned off of their bodies in those buildings -- and the inconsolable spouses they left behind. 

Yes, she directs an anger that shirks all management on women whose husbands were murdered on 9/11.  Apparently, in Miss Coulter's religion, the meek may inherit the Earth, but not before she's had a shot at making them cry first.  With a mouth so busy frothing it apparently has no time to eat, Miss Coulter claims to be livid at these opportunistic widows for being crass enough to remember the event that killed the father of their children.  She also gets prickly about them being compensated as a result of the catastrophe. (more)



Morning has broken,
Like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken,
Like the first bird.
Praise for the singing,
Praise for the morning,
Praise for the springing
Fresh from the world.
(Traditional, arranged Cat Stevens)

Cat Stevens got the lyrics of "Morning Has Broken" from a hymn book he found at a bookstore while looking for song ideas. It was a children's hymn by Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965), who also wrote a lot of children's poetry.

A little known fact is that the tune, to which the words for "Morning Has Broken" is sung, is actually a tune by Charles Stanford that he wrote in 1902 as a means of adapting the traditional Irish prayer, 'St. Patrick's Breastplate', by Londonderry's Mrs. Cecil Francis Alexander (who also wrote "All Things Bright and Beautiful" and "Once In Royal David's City" into plainsong, from which the older, lesser known hymns "Christ Be Beside Me" and "This Day God Gives Me" - which are sung to the same tune as "Morning Has Broken" - come. Hence the song writing credits should actually read "Farjeon/Stanford."
(thanks to Dai Woosnam)

(Correction: Actually, Cat Stevens, or Yusef Islam, as he is now known, adapted the words and lyrics from an ancient Muslim chant which roughly translated goes, 'Morning has broken, Allah can fix it .." Yusef Bin Fibben)

The President Addresses the Good American People about
Total Victory, Evil WMD, and VNTME
by John Brown

Office of the Press Secretary

(Text of President Bush's Televised Address to the Nation. Embargoed until Tuesday, June 13, 8:00 pm)

Excerpt . . .
" . . My fellow Americans, we are also taking steps to eliminate another type of WMD that we have discovered yet again in our midst on the eve of another good American democratic election -- Women/Men Destroyers. These are evil people who don't believe in our traditional good marriage of a man and a woman, the kind of marriage Laura and I are blessed to have thanks to divine intervention. These holy-matrimony haters refuse to accept, as I said recently, that "marriage cannot be cut off from its cultural, religious, and natural roots without weakening this good influence on society."

My weapon in this good struggle against Violent, Non-Traditional Marriage Extremism or VNTME is the Marriage Protection Amendment. Some not-good VNTME supporters kept the amendment from passing in the Senate this time, but we will never stop working to make it part of the laws of our good land.

Finally, my fellow Americans, we have not forgotten WMD overseas, even in the wake of our mission accomplished in Iraq and the liquidation of Zarqawi. We are now focusing on an evil country called Iran.

Trust me, I won't urge the Uraniums to "bring it on," as I have learned from my infrequent mistakes. . . . " article



Kicking Our Oil Addiction
Minnesota Becomes First State to Endorse an Electric-Alcohol Strategy

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota - June 8 - Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has signed into law H.F. 3718, the nation's first law promoting plug-in hybrid, flexible-fueled vehicles.

The legislation ­ inspired by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's report A Better Way that proposed an electricity-alcohol transportation energy strategy, and several articles by ILSR staff published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in late 2005 ­ sailed through both houses by a unanimous vote.

"Both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats understand that this is the only near term strategy available that can cure us of our oil addiction," notes David Morris, ILSR's Vice President, who testified as an expert witness before six legislative committees.

The law instructs the state to buy plug-in hybrids on a preferred basis when they become available.  It also encourages Minnesota State University-Mankato to develop flex-fuel plug-in hybrid vehicles, and creates a task force consisting of business, government and utility representatives to develop a strategy for using, and producing such vehicles in Minnesota.

A plug-in hybrid can run primarily on electricity, which inherently reduces oil consumption.  "Only three percent of our electricity is generated from oil," Morris observes, "And many states are requiring an increasing percentage of renewable electricity."  Renewable fuels like ethanol would provide the primary energy source for the vehicle's engine. article

Biofuel Challenges Big Oil
By Charles Shaw

As oil surpasses $75 a barrel and gas hits $3 a gallon, Americans might find it hard to imagine higher costs. But this auto-centric perspective overlooks the hidden costs of our petroleum addiction.

"The diesel engine is the backbone of the American economy," says Matt Atwood, project manager for Biodiesel Systems, LLC, an independent, Madison, Wis.-based start-up. "While accounting for only 12 percent of our total fuel consumption, it transports 70 percent of the nation's goods to market in shipping containers hauled by semi-trucks." Diesel also accounts for transporting 18 million tons of freight and 14 million people every day, to the tune of $6 trillion a year, or about 51 percent of our GDP.

But what if diesel and petrochemicals could eventually be replaced by localized, sustainable industries of natural, renewable materials that are non-toxic and biodegradable?

This is the solution offered by the European Association for Bioindustries, known as EuropaBio. EuropaBio claims that industrial biotechnology has the potential to revolutionize industry by reducing pollution and waste, decreasing the use of energy, raw materials and water, and creating new materials and biofuels from our waste products - including biodegradable plastics and building materials, as well as renewable fuels like biodiesel and ethanol. article

Gore to Train 1,000 to Spread Word about Climate
by Timothy Gardner

 NEW YORK - Al Gore hopes to train 1,000 messengers he hopes will spread out across the country and present a slide show about global warming that captures the essence of his Hollywood documentary and book.

The former vice president, a Democrat, said on Monday that by the end of the summer he would start a bipartisan education campaign to train 1,000 people to give a version of his slide show on global warming featured in the film "An Inconvenient Truth" and book of the same name.

"This moment cannot be allowed to pass," Gore told reporters in New York. "I have seen and heard times before when the awareness of the climate crisis has peaked and then a few months later it's gone. I think this time is different, but I have to say I'm not certain of that."article



Porc Braise au Galangal Facon Chien

Ancient North Vietnamese recipe for 'Dog with Galangal', from the archives of brilliant french chef Didier Corlou, of the Sofitel Metropole Hanoi, where Corlou replaces the bow-wow, with pork. (Aw !!!!) Here it 'tis - first in the original French and then my 'interpretive' translation:

1 kg jarret de porc
50 g echalotes
1 c. a soupe sucre
4 c. a soupe Nuoc mam
29 g galangal
6 cm curcuma
5 c. a soupe riz fermente
1 c. a soupe pate de crevette
2 unites piments frais
QS huile, sel, poivre, herbes fraiches mixtes, nouille de riz fraiches

Griller les jarrets de porc sur une flamme de paille de riz pour avoir une belle couleur jaune marron.
Couper les jarrets de porc en morceaux.
Faire le jus de curcuma. Piler finement le galangal. Passer le reiz fermente et la pate de creveter au chinois etamine pour avoir le jus.
Emincer le piment et les echalotes.
Faire mariner le poc avec le nuoc mam, le jus de riz fermente et la pate de crevetter, le jus de curcuma, le galangal, le piment, les echalotes, le poivre, le sucre et un peu d'huile.
Laisser mariner quelques heures.
Faire revenir un peu d'echalotes hachees, bien egoutter le porc et le faire sauter pendant une dizaine minutes puis verser le jus de marinade, mouilller de l'eau, versifier l'assaisonnement et laisser mijoter jusqu'a ce que le porc soit bien cuit.
Servir avec les nouilles fraiches, les herbes mixtes et du piment frais.


Vietnamese Pork Braised with Galangal (in the Fashion of Braised Dog with Galangal)

(Note: I am recommending using fresh turmeric root rather than the powder if you can find it. The powder undergoes a treatment which destroys the majority of its medicinal properties, which are many, as you can find out for yourself with a quick Google search.)

1 kg ham hocks (not smoked)
50 g shallots
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons Nuoc Mam (fish sauce)
29 g galangal (root)
6 cm turmeric root (fresh if possible, or powdered, failing that.)
5 tablespoons Japanese Mirin rice wine
1 tablespoon shrimp paste
2 red chillis
Oil, salt, pepper, fresh mixed herbes (including fresh coriander, basil and Vietnamese mint), according to taste.
Fresh rice noodles

Grill the ham hocks over a flame of rice straw (yeah right! - or on a barbeque) until they are a beautiful chestnut yellow colour. Cut the pork into pieces.

Make a juice from the turmeric root: grate it finely, mix with a couple tablespoons of water and some lemon juice and place in a blender or mixer. Jiggy-jig.)

Crush the galangal in a mortar and pestle.

Mix the mirin and the shrimp paste together and pass through a sieve or strainer to achieve a mushy juice.

Finely mince the chillies and two-thirds of the shallots. (Reserve one third of the shallots for the saute later.)

Marinate the pork in a mixture of the fish sauce, mirin and shrimp paste juice, turmeric juice, galangal, chili and shallots, pepper, sugar, and a little oil, for a couple hours.

Drain as much liquid from the pork pieces, and set aside. Saute the remaining shallots until opaque, add the pork, and stir for a minute. Add the marinade to the pan, some water if necessary, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer over low heat until the meat is well cooked.

Serve with fresh rice noodles, mixed fresh herbes and red chili. Woof woof!



"Let's be the same wound if we must bleed.
Let's fight side by side, even if the enemy
is ourselves: I am yours, you are mine."
Tommy Olofsson, Sweden


 I'm not interested in
Who suffered the most.
I'm interested in
People getting over it.
Once when my father was a boy
A stone hit him on the head.
Hair would never grow there.
Our fingers found the tender spot
and its riddle: the boy who has fallen
stands up. A bucket of pears
in his mother's doorway welcomes him home.
The pears are not crying.
Later his friend who threw the stone
says he was aiming at a bird.
And my father starts growing wings.
Each carries a tender spot:
something our lives forgot to give us.
A man builds a house and says,
"I am native now."
A woman speaks to a tree in place
of her son. And olives come.
A child's poem says,
"I don't like wars,
they end up with monuments."
He's painting a bird with wings
wide enough to cover two roofs at once.
Why are we so monumentally slow?
Soldiers stalk a pharmacy:
big guns, little pills.
If you tilt your head just slightly
it's ridiculous.
There's a place in my brain
Where hate won't grow.
I touch its riddle: wind, and seeds.
Something pokes us as we sleep.
It's late but everything comes next.
~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~
(19 Varieties of Gazelle)






The Final Hurrah

A little old couple walked slowly into a McDonalds one cold winter evening.
They looked out of place amid the young families and young couples eating there that night.
Some of the customers looked admiringly at them. You could tell what the admirers were thinking. "Look, there's a couple who've been through a lot together, probably for 60 years or more!"
The little old man walked up to the counter, placed his order with no hesitation and then paid for their meal. The couple took a table near the back wall and started taking food off of the tray: one hamburger, one order of chips and one drink.
The little old man unwrapped the plain hamburger and carefully cut it in half. He placed one half in front of his wife. Then he carefully counted out the chips, divided them in two piles and neatly placed one pile in front of his wife.
He took a sip of the drink, and then his wife took a sip as the man began to eat his few bites. Again, you could tell what people around the old couple were thinking, "That poor old couple."
As the man began to eat his chips, one young man stood and came over to the old couple's table. He politely offered to buy another meal. The old man replied that they were just fine. They were used to sharing everything.
Then the crowd noticed that the little old lady hadn't eaten a thing. She just sat there watching her husband eat and occasionally sipped some of the drink.
Again, the young man came over and begged them to let him buy them something to eat. This time, the lady explained that no, they were used to sharing.
As the little old man finished eating and was wiping his face neatly with a napkin, the young man could stand it no longer and asked again. After being politely refused again, he finally asked the little old lady, "Excuse me, why aren't you eating? You said that you share everything. What is it that you're waiting for?"
She answered,
"The teeth."

(thanks to Michael Leone)