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June 3rd, 2005

The Secret Language of Herrings

"Patriotism is supporting your country all of the time, and your government when it deserves it."
Mark Twain



Dear folks,

People often ask me, "Joe, we know lyrics mean a lot to you. What made you finally choose to use the word UP in your classic song, 'Shut UP You Face'?"

Firstly, let me clarify that I use the old 12th century Calabrian misplaced dangling modifier variation, UP-A, rather than the contemporanus spelling. As for why I choose that particular word, out of the thousands of other little words available to me . . . let me refer you to this about that:

There is a three-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other three-letter word, and that is "UP-A."

It's easy to understand UP-A, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP-A? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP-A? Why do we speak UP-A and why are the officers UP-A for election and why is it UP-A to the secretary to write UP-A a report? We call UP-A our friends And we use it to brighten UP-A a room, polish UP-A the silver, we warm UP-A the leftovers and clean UP-A the kitchen. We lock UP-A the house and some guys fix UP-A the old car. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP-A trouble, line UP-A for tickets, work UP-A an appetite, and think UP-A excuses. To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP-A is special. And this UP-A is confusing: A drain must be opened UP-A because it is stopped UP-A. We open UP-A a store in the morning but we close it UP-A at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP-A about UP-A! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP-A, look the word UP-A in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP-A almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP-A to about thirty definitions . If you are UP-A to it, you might try building UP-A a list of the many ways UP-A is used. It will take UP-A a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP-A, you may wind UP-A with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP-A. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP-A. When it rains, it wets UP-A the earth.When it doesn't rain for a while, things dry UP-A.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP-A, for now my time is UP-A, so.............
Time to . . . shut UP-A :)
(thanks to Pauline van Buren for the original-a text!)


Favourite Letters of the Week

Hey Joe,
My husband found this take on Howard's love for Bush: Johnnie's words put to a hip-hop beat, complete with news footage & animation. Takes a minute or so for images/sound to download, (7 mb) but worth every second. Be sure your chair is firmly secured to the floor and your butt nailed to the seat! :-)
LJK (.mov)

Its A.J. in Antwerp, i was just reading your wonderful newsletter and i noticed a subject mentioned that is dear to my heart: WHISKY. If you're ever in this part of the world, i can point you in the direction of two things: live accoustic music and Whisky-----checkout the whisky museum kirn (in the black forest ) online. Do take care,and i do hope your other half is ok (our last email was about cancer) Best wishes,

(Note: I've included a couple of important links further down below about alternative cancer pioneers for anyone who wants some more information in that area. As far as Le Whisky, I'm currently attempting to work my way through the single malts. Lagavulin is still my favourite, with Laphroaig, a close second. At the moment I'm investigating Ardbeg. Here a little about the Whisky-Museum:

" The vaults of the Kyrburg Castle house one of the largest whisky collections in Germany. Together with the bottles in the restaurant bar, there are about 2,500 different bottles. As well as the well-known brands, there are also rarities which are coveted by collectors. In addition to spirits from the traditional whisky-producing countries such as Scotland, Ireland, the USA and Canada, there are also bottles from, for example, the former East Germany, Israel, India and Turkey, as well as 'snake whisky' from the Far East. However the emphasis of the collection is on Single Malt whiskies from Scotland. There are even some bottles from the 19th century, including one that was recently recovered from a shipwreck. Other whiskies have matured for more than fifty years before being bottled." (whisky-museum)

RE:' Preaching to the Choir? Not This Time' article

That story re: Calvin's Bush licking has a troubling string to it. I have the unfortunate honor of living in Grand Rapids, Mi. where the overflow from Calvin and Aquinas (the Catholic college in town) spills out onto my streets crowding out this lonely Taoist. Once again "the press" is suspect in all of this. 800 signatures representing many more Christians protested Bush's commencement insiting no response from the national press while Laura (lovely laura) was being harngued by "dozens" of protesters in her visit to the Middle East. That was THREE dozen, by the way. I heard that story for 2 days! 40 people yell at an insignificant woman from texas and it is a top story. I shuttle between G.R. and Gainesville, Fla. Once a week in both burgs protesters carry signs expressing dissent for this administration's policies. Everyday Bush is being denounced for his smirking hatred of decency and it isn't given an inch in the press or a second on the nightly news. In this era of absurdity it strikes me as odd that Laura (lovely laura) was the focus. love, Gary P.


Scientology: Providing Gay Actors with Wives since 1978.
Yes Jimmy, Jesus Does Watch you Masturbate.
BUSH'S AMERICA: All the Fascism -- None of the Funny Mustache!




42,000 dust mites can live in only one ounce of dust! Forty pounds of dust are generated per year per 1,500 square feet of space and host 15 species of dust mites! A mattress can harbour two million dust mites!

Constituents of House Dust: ash, cigarette; ash, incinerator; combustion products; fiber, synthetic textile; fibers: wool, cotton, paper and silk; fingernail filings; food crumbs; glass particles; glue; graphite; hair, human and animal; insect fragments; oil soot; paint chips; plant parts; pollen; polymer foam particles; salt and sugar crystals; skin scales, humans; skin scales, pets; soil; spores, fungal; stone particles; tobacco; wood shavings.

There are two species of house dust mites, belonging to the genus Dermatophagoides. These mites are so tiny that they are virtually invisible without magnification. They pass through six developmental stages, and the adult form may also molt once. Adult female mites lay cream-colored elliptical eggs coated with a sticky fluid that helps them adhere to the substrate. Under optimal conditions, the cycle from egg to adult mite takes about one month. Both species of house dust mites feed on human skin scales, pollen, fungi, bacteria, lepidopteran (moth and butterfly) scales, animal dander, and skin scales of birds. Human, cat, dog, and horse dander have been used to raise these species in a laboratory. Dust mites do not drink free water, but they absorb water from the air and the environment. The food consumption of these mites and development increases at higher relative humidities. Mites survive best at relative humidities of 70-80% and temperatures of 75-80 degrees F. House dust mites do not survive well at low relative humidities, especially at higher temperatures. Temperatures of 140 degrees F for one hour is lethal to these mites.


Motley Crue were travelling from Germany to Britain this week. The band got into a bit of trouble at customs when leaving Germany, as the already heavily-pierced Tommy Lee was wearing extreme bondage trousers covered with zips and safety pins. Rather than remove it all, Tommy came up with a great plan: he climbed on to the conveyer belt and got himself X-rayed.



1. Dr John Holt

Recently, A Current Affair aired a story on Perth-based surgeon, Dr John Holt, who many believe has the cure for cancer. The NHMRC is supposedly conducting a review of Dr Holt's method of cancer treatment - Microwave Cancer Therapy. The original date for this review to be submitted to the Minister for Health was December 21, 2004. It was not submitted. A further date was set. Again, the review was not submitted. It has still not been submitted. Strange when considering Dr. Holt's claim that he could train any doctor to apply his therapy in a day. Dr Holt, who is 80 years of age, has cured thousands of people of many forms of cancer and will be closing his practice on June 30, 2005 because his method of treatment is considered by our government to be unorthodox. (Chemo, a known killer, is the accepted, orthodox method in cancer treatment). Dr, Holt's retirement will be a great loss to his patients and to the many thousands who could possibly be cured by his clearly successful method; people who will be told by oncologists that there is nothing that can be done for them.

This is your chance to help fellow Australians, who finally have a chance to beat cancer, keep Dr. Holt's work from being buried by our bureaucrats. (Have you ever noticed how many appeals there are for cancer research, yet after more than three decades, there is no cure? Ever noticed how every cancer cure ultimately gets swept under the carpet? Cancer is a multi-billiondollar global industry that will not recognize any cure that cannot be manufactured as a patentable drug. It's about money. Check it out on the web. It makes very interesting reading).

Demand that the Australian Government and the Department of Health and Ageing act swiftly and responsibly to ensure that Dr. Holt's treatment method for cancer be fairly evaluated and implemented in mainstream medicine in Australia if it is proven the be beneficial in the treatment of cancer, and that Dr. Holt be recognized for his ground breaking work.

Forward this message to anyone you know who believes in common decency.

In Australia, you can forward this email to:

Mr. Tony Abbott, Minister of Health & Ageing at:
Tony. Abbott@aph.gov.au tony.abbott@dewr.gov.au health.advisory.cttee.nhmrc.gov.au

Thank you for your assistance in attempting to save the work of Doctor Holt and with it, possibly, the lives of thousands of cancer sufferers in Australia and the world.
(thanks to Blaise Van Hecke and Samantha Meadmore)


(Note: My partner Lin and I have been big fans of Sir Jason's chaparral blend tea for almost a year now. Personally, I have never liked herbal teas too much, except, during fasts, but this is the finest herbal tea I have ever had. It has literally weaned me off of the 3-4 cups of Earl Grey I used to drink daily. In fact, I don't even LIKE drinking black tea anymore. Seriously. It's not cheap, but it is worth it. Deeply satisfying.)

Killing Cancer ­ Sir Jason Winters' Story

(Gary Samer has been a leading international teacher, writer and lecturer in the field of natural health for over 21 years in the USA, Canada, Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Spain and Tahiti.)

In 1977, at the age of 47, Hollywood actor Jason Winters was told that he had three months to live. He was diagnosed with cancer of the throat, tonsils and tongue, and had a tumour the size of a grapefruit wrapped around his carotid artery and attached to the wall of his jugular vein, resulting in a death sentence from his physician. He was given 52 shots of cobalt radiation to his neck and face, then was told that his condition was hopeless, as the treatment had no effect. Sent home to die and with only 90 days to live, he did what many people in his situation do, he turned to faith. Through reading the Bible and other religious books, he learned that herbs were an important part of healing thousands of years ago. In the Bible, herbs are mentioned for medicinal purposes 27 times. Sir Jason contacted the Archbishop of Canterbury to find the name of the herb mentioned in the Bible. It turned out to be Red Clover, which was used extensively in Europe for thousands of years to cleanse the blood. Sir Jason also read that Buddha had referred to an Asian herb as a cure for tumours. He was surprised to learn that they were aware of cancers more than 2500 years ago. Finally, through his past experiences working with American Indians on western movies, he remembered how they would build a small fire on the ground and brew up a tea made from a local herb, Chaparral, while Sir Jason and the other actors would have coffee and donuts. The Indians told him that their tea purified the blood to prevent or get rid of cancer. Propped up by his two sons, Sir Jason managed to travel to Singapore in order to find the Asian herb. He brewed and drank it in great quantities, but it did not seem to help. He then travelled to London where he obtained and tried Red Clover, with no results. Finally, getting weaker and more desperate every day, he went to the Arizona desert to find Chaparral, but it made no difference to his condition. One morning, in desperation, he decided to mix the three herbs together. Sir Jason wrote in his multi-million selling book Killing Cancer, "It was five minutes to ten on a Wednesday morning. I made the tea combination and a miracle happened. I could feel it with the first swallow. Strength seemed to pour through my body. That day I made a gallon of the tea and drank it all. When my family walked through the door they could see the difference in my face. Tears filled all our eyes. Day after day I drank one gallon regularly. Strength and vitality returned, but mostly it was my frame of mind. I was going to live, I knew it. Within three weeks the tumour had gone completely. Everyone called it a miracle, because in nine weeks I was not as healthy as before, I was healthier, and God, how I enjoyed every minute of life." As word of his recovery spread, cancer patients began turning up at his front doorstep. Before long, over one hundred patients were coming to his house each day to learn more about his experience and to obtain his tea. After six months had passed, Sir Jason had received over 10,000 letters! On 5 August, 1978, Scottish oncologist Dr. Ian Pierce wrote a report about Sir Jason's herbal tea and his recovery to the British Medical Association. Dr. Pierce explained that he had tested the herbs and certified that they were organic, safe and produced no side effects. He stated that they are not a cure, but that they purify the blood to such an extent that the body's natural immune system begins to work, enabling the body to heal itself. He stated that the herbs would have the same effect on most illnesses ­ not just cancer. Also, for those who are not sick, an important tenet of natural healing is "Prevention is always better than cure." HRH Prince Charles, himself a user of alternative medicine, told his friend Jason, "Go out into the world and be a peacemaker". In 1995, Jason was knighted in Malta as a Knight of Grace of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem. HM the Queen and the Pope are also members of this ancient order. He has since received the US Congressional Certificate of Meritorious Service, two gold medals from the Dr Albert Schweitzer Foundation and the Medal of Honour in Madrid, Spain. He has been named Dean Laureate by the countries of Belgium, the Netherlands and South Africa. Sir Jason is president of The Federation of Integrated Medicine. It has been 24 years since Sir Jason Winters was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He is healthier today than he has ever been, and though in his 70's, spends much of his time travelling the world, spreading his story, giving lectures to doctors and nutritionists, and discovering new herbal formulas such as his world famous Xian, based on Tibetan legends. In fact, Sir Jason has never had a major illness since his recovery. He recently had a complete 100 test health examination at Southwest Medical Associates in Nevada, USA, and his physician, Dr. Haulk, found absolutely nothing wrong with him and gave him a clean bill of health! Sir Jason's book Killing Cancer ­ The Sir Jason Winter Story, by Benjamin Roth Smythe, has over 12 million copies in print in 9 different languages and his herbs have been used by over 62 million people in over 70 countries! (website)


"I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out."
Bill Hicks


Breaking: Water Remains Wet
By William Rivers Pitt
" . . . So what's the big deal? Fox is just one news network. It isn't as though News Corporation and its far-right boss Rupert Murdoch control massive swaths of the news and information media, right? News Corporation only owns at least one station in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington D.C., Minneapolis, Detroit, Phoenix, Orlando, Atlanta, Houston, Cleveland, Denver, St. Louis, Memphis, Greensboro, Birmingham, Austin, Kansas City and Salt Lake City.

News Corporation only controls the Sky Network in several countries around the world, DirecTV, the FX channel, Fox News, Fox Sports News, 20th Century Fox, the New York Post, the Boston Herald, The UK Sun, the UK Sunday Times, 20 other newspapers in Australia, The Weekly Standard, TV Guide, HarperCollins Publishing and twenty-two other publishing houses, StarTV which broadcasts to Asia, twelve different publishing companies focused on children's books, the L.A. Kings, the L.A. Lakers and the National Rugby League.

No big deal, right. Probably only a couple billion people a day watch, read or listen to something controlled by Mr. Murdoch and News Corporation. Their influence is far and wee...and fair and balanced.

It was something of a surprise, then, to read Scott Norvell's comments in the Wall Street Journal on May 20th. Norvell is the London bureau chief for Fox News, and perhaps accidentally let the mask of impartiality slip a bit. He was comparing the privately-owned Fox to the publicly-owned BBC when he said, "Even we at Fox News manage to get some lefties on the air occasionally, and often let them finish their sentences before we club them to death and feed the scraps to Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly . . ." (article)


"I have no race prejudices... All that I care to know is that a man is a human being - that is enough for me; he can't be any worse."
Mark Twain


Bush, Cheney Attack Amnesty International
by Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - Stung by Amnesty International's condemnation of U.S. detention facilities in Iraq and elsewhere overseas, the administration of President George W. Bush is reacting with indignation and even suggestions that terrorists are using the world's largest human rights organization. (article)

Amnesty International's Response to Rumsfeld
Statement of Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director, Amnesty International USA (article)


'Tank Girl' Army Accused of Torture
Guardian and Human Rights Watch find evidence of abuse by Iranian revolutionaries under US protection
by David Leigh in Nijmegen, Netherlands

A bizarre revolutionary army supported by British politicians who want more "regime change" in the Middle East, has been accused of torture and brainwashing. Evidence obtained by the Guardian backs a report by Human Rights Watch. This makes detailed accusations of abuse, including deaths under interrogation, against the "People's Mujahideen" of Iran (MKO). The Mujahideen are a 4000-strong anti-Iranian dissident army, currently under US protection in a camp in Iraq. They have a vociferous public relations campaign in Britain and the backing of some Washington neo-conservatives. The group, known as the "tank girls" because of the preponderance of women in its ranks, has also won the support of the Daily Telegraph, which wants it to help overthrow the mullahs in Tehran. . .
. . . A former English soldier in the MKO, Anne Singleton, now living in Leeds, talked to the Guardian last week. She said the MKO was a brainwashing cult, which ordered its members alternately to divorce and re-marry. As a "Tank girl", she says she wielded a Kalashnikov in the Iraqi deserts with a battalion of women equipped with tanks and revolutionary slogans. They are run by Maryam and Massoud Rajavi, who are married. She believed she was joining a feminist marxist battle group dedicated to the overthrow of Iran's misogynist clerics. But she says she was deceived and is horrified UK politicians are backing dangerous fanatics. . .




My friend, Peter Best, alerted me to Antony and the Johnsons, through a recent review in the Sunday Herald. I looked around on the net, downloaded about a minute of ' Hope There's Someone,' from the CD 'I Am a Bird Now,' and after approx 2 lines of singing, I was hooked. (Trust me, listen to a bit of this track and you will see what all the fuss is about.) Hard to describe the raw sincere emotion in Antony's voice, like a mix between early Boy George, late Nina Simone and how I imagine experiencing a castrato for the first time. Here's the link to a few .mp3s: (website)

Equally interesting is another member of the extended Johnson's, Julia Yasuda.


How about this for a bio to kill for:

Julia Yasuda was born in a hermaproditic condition in Sheng-Yang, Manchuria during World War II. Today she is a set theorist (someone who studies the universe of mathematics) and a performer. Her career was started in 1959 as an assistant at the radio engineering department of the Musashi Institute of Technology in Tokyo. After she got her Ph.D. in mathematics in 1973, she started researching and teaching mathematics at various colleges. In the late 70's, she met photographer Erika Yasuda at an SM bar in Tokyo and began working as Erika's androgynous model and assistant. In 1984, the couple came to New York while Julia worked as a visiting professor at the Courant Institute at NYU. After they returned to Tokyo in 1985, Julia was appointed as a professor of mathematics and logic at the University of Maryland (Asian Division) and awarded a Doctor of Sciences degree in mathematics from Nagoya University for her contribution to descriptive set theory. In summer of 1987, the tragic loss of Erika became one of the major events of Julia's life. Julia published Erika's book of photographs "Who Saw Beautiful Things" in memoriam. Then she moved to New York City, where she started to work as a research reviewer for The American Mathematical Society and The Association For Symbolic Logic. Julia became a permanent resident of the US as a distinguished scholar in 1994. She met Antony and Johanna in the East Village in the winter of 1995 and began performing with the Johnsons. In that year she also produced and managed the NYC rock group Transisters. In 1996, Julia appeared in Rosa Von Praunheim's film "Transsexual Menace" and gave an address about her hermaphroditic life experience at the Lesbian and Gay Community Center in NYC. On September 3rd 1999, Julia was naturalized as "a female US citizen" at the New York US District Court. She continues to appear at all Johnsons events and is participating in her friend Professor Milton Diamond's study of Klinefelter's Syndrome. Julia is in communication with the people around the globe via her radio station, W2QJ.

Country Music and Suicide

" . . .[On] country radio, you don't hear anybody you recognize. [The singers] don't have any particular style. If you don't know their bellybuttons, [you don't recognize them]. Merle Haggard



Some US researcher have found that cities with a higher than average amount of country music on radio stations have higher suicide rates. (Nashville, Tennessee, was at the top.) For this study, 'The Effect of Country Music on Suicide,' Dr Steven Stack was awarded the Ig Nobel Award! for Medicine, which is awarded annually for unusual research.

Apparently this particular study was conducted a few years ago when country music songs had more depressing themes. Today the figures would be refuted as country has a more upbeat aspect. But I understand the pathos of country's past. I wrote a couple songs back then that drew me dangerously near to the edge. Songs like, 'My Horse, Chestnut, Choked on a Horsechestnut.' Luckily I had the hard lovin' of my wife, Billy Boyles, to keep me in touch with reality. I should say ex-wife. Unfortunately, she left me for a bearded folk singer she met at the Port Fairy Folk Festival. But out of crisis comes opportunity, and it inspired me to work on my own study, 'The Effect of Minor-Key Folk Songs on Beard Growth,' which I hope to present at the Australian Folk Alliance next year.

THE IG NOBEL PRIZES are annual awards, presented at Harvard University, in Massachusetts, by the publishers of The Annals of Improbable Research, and are a spoof of the Nobel prizes and represent years of scouring scholarly journals and newspapers for scientific efforts worth poking fun at. The 2004 winners:

Steven Stack of Wayne State University and James Gundlach of Auburn University for their published report "The Effect of Country Music on Suicide."

Ramesh Balasubramaniam of the University of Ottowa, and Michael Turvey of the University of Connecticut and Yale University, for exploring and explaining the dynamics of hula-hooping.

Jillian Clarke of the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (and then Howard University, Washington, D.C.), for investigating the scientific validity of the Five-Second Rule about whether it's safe to eat food that's been dropped on the floor. (The "5-second rule" states if food falls to the floor for fewer than 5 seconds, it is safe to pick it up and eat it.)

The Coca-Cola Company of Great Britain, for using advanced technology to convert liquid from the River Thames into Dasani, a transparent form of water, which for precautionary reasons has been made unavailable to consumers. (Five hundred thousand bottles of the product were pulled from the market last March after unacceptable levels of bromate, a potential cancer-causing chemical, were found. Coke is seeking a new British bottling location.)

The American Nudist Research Library of Kissimmee, Florida, USA, for preserving nudist history so that everyone can see it.

Daniel Simons of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Christopher Chabris of Harvard University, for demonstrating that when people pay close attention to something, it's all too easy to overlook anything else -- even a man in a gorilla suit.

The Vatican, for outsourcing prayers to India.

Daisuke Inoue of Hyogo, Japan, for inventing karaoke, thereby providing an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other.

Ben Wilson of the University of British Columbia, Lawrence Dill of Simon Fraser University [Canada], Robert Batty of the Scottish Association for Marine Science, Magnus Whalberg of the University of Aarhus [Denmark], and Hakan Westerberg of Sweden's National Board of Fisheries, for showing that herrings apparently communicate by farting.

Jerry Springer: Catfighting Political Theorists

Crowd: Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!
Jerry: Today's guests are here because they can't agree on fundamental principles of epistemology and ontology. I'd like to welcome Todd to the show.
Todd enters from backstage.
Jerry: Hello, Todd.
Todd: Hi, Jerry.
Jerry: (reading from card) So, Todd, you're here to tell your girlfriend something. What is it?
Todd: Well, Jerry, my girlfriend Ursula and I have been going out for three years now. We did everything together. We were really inseparable. But then she discovered post-Marxist political and literary theory, and it's been nothing but fighting ever since.
Jerry: Why is that?
Todd: You see, Jerry, I'm a traditional Cartesian rationalist. I believe that the individual self, the "I" or ego is the foundation of all metaphysics. She, on the other hand, believes that the contemporary self is a socially constructed, multi-faceted subjectivity reflecting the political and economic realities of late capitalist consumerist discourse.
Crowd: Ooooohhhh!
Todd: I know! I know! Is that infantile, or what?
Jerry: So what do you want to tell her today?
Todd: I want to tell her that unless she ditches the post-modernism, we're through. I just can't go on having a relationship with a woman who doesn't believe I exist.
Jerry: Well, you're going to get your chance. Here's Ursula!
Ursula storms onstage and charges up to Todd.
Ursula: Patriarchal colonizer!
She slaps him viciously. Todd leaps up, but the security guys pull them apart before things can go any further.
Ursula: Don't listen to him! Logic is a male hysteria! Rationality equals oppression and the silencing of marginalized voices!
Todd: The classical methodology of rational dialectic is our only road to truth! Don't try to deny it!
Ursula: You and your dialectic! That's how it's been through our whole relationship, Jerry. Mindless repetition of the post-Enlightenment meta- narrative. "You have to start with radical doubt, Ursula." "Post-structuralism is just classical sceptical thought re-cast in the language of semiotics, Ursula."
Crowd: Booo! Booo!
Jerry: Well, Ursula, come on. Don't you agree that the roots of contemporary neo-Leftism simply have to be sought in Enlightenment political philosophy?
Ursula: History is the discourse of powerful centrally located voices marginalizing and de-scribing the sub-altern!
Todd: See what I have to put up with? Do you know what it's like living with someone who sees sex as a metaphoric demonstration of the anti-feminist violence implicit in the discourse of the dominant power structure? It's terrible. She just lies there and thinks of Andrea Dworkin. That's why we never do it any more.
Crowd: Wooooo!
Ursula: You liar! Why don't you tell them how you haven't been able to get it up for the past three months because you couldn't decide if your penis truly had essential Being, or was simply a manifestation of Mind?
Todd: Wait a minute! Wait a minute!
Ursula: It's true!
Jerry: Well, I don't think we're going to solve this one right away. Our next guests are Louis and Tina. And Tina has a little confession to make!
Louis and Tina come onstage. Todd and Ursula continue bickering in the background.
Jerry: Tina, you are... (reads cards) ... an existentialist, is that right?
Tina: That's right, Jerry. And Louis is, too.
Jerry: And what did you want to tell Louis today?
Tina: Jerry, today I want to tell him...
Jerry: Talk to Louis. Talk to him.
Crowd hushes.
Tina: Louis... I've loved you for a long time...
Louis: I love you, too, Tina.
Tina: Louis, you know I agree with you that existence precedes essence, but... well, I just want to tell you I've been reading Nietzsche lately, and I don't think I can agree with your egalitarian politics any more.
Crowd: Wooooo! Woooooo!
Louis: (shocked and disbelieving) Tina, this is crazy. You know that Sartre clarified all this way back in the 40's.
Tina: But he didn't take into account Nietzsche's radical critique of democratic morality, Louis. I'm sorry. I can't ignore the contradiction any longer!
Louis: You got these ideas from Victor, didn't you? Didn't you?
Tina: Don't you bring up Victor! I only turned to him when I saw you were seeing that dominatrix! I needed a real man! An Uber-man!
Louis: (sobbing) I couldn't help it. It was my burden of freedom. It was too much!
Jerry: We've got someone here who might have something to add. Bring out... Victor!
Victor enters. He walks up to Louis and sticks a finger in his face.
Victor: Louis, you're a classic post-Christian intellectual. Weak to the core!
Louis: (through tears) You can kiss my Marxist ass, Reactionary Boy!
Victor: Herd animal!
Louis: Lackey!
Louis throws a chair at Victor; they lock horns and wrestle. The crowd goes wild. After a long struggle, the security guys pry them apart.
Jerry: Okay, okay. It's time for questions from the audience. Go ahead, sir.
Audience member: Okay, this is for Tina. Tina, I just wanna know how you can call yourself an existentialist, and still agree with Nietzsche's doctrine of the Ubermensch. Doesn't that imply a belief in intrinsic essences that is in direct contradiction with with the fundamental principles of existentialism?
Tina: No! No! It doesn't. We can be equal in potential, without being equal in eventual personal quality. It's a question of Becoming, not Being.
Audience member: That's just disguised essentialism! You're no existentialist!
Tina: I am so!
Audience member: You're no existentialist!
Tina: I am so an existentialist, bitch!
Ursula stands and interjects.
Ursula: What does it [bleep] matter? Existentialism is just a cover for late capitalist anti-feminism! Look at how Sartre treated Simone de Beauvoir!
Women in the crowd cheer and stomp.
Tina: [Bleep] you! Fat-ass Foucaultian ho!
Ursula: You only wish you were smart enough to understand Foucault, bitch!
Tina: You the bitch!
Ursula: No, you the bitch!
Tina: Whatever! Whatever!
Jerry: We'll be right back with a final thought! Stay with us!
Commercial break for debt-consolidation loans, ITT Technical Institute, and Psychic Alliance Hotline.
Jerry: Hi! Welcome back. I just want to thank all our guests for being here, and say that I hope you're able to work through your differences and find happiness, if indeed happiness can be extracted from the dismal miasma of warring primal hormonal impulses we call human relationship.
(turns to the camera)
Well, we all think philosophy is just fun and games. Semiotics, deconstruction, Lacanian post-Freudian psychoanalysis, it all seems like good, clean fun. But when the heart gets involved, all our painfully acquired metaphysical insights go right out the window, and we're reduced to battling it out like rutting chimpanzees. It's not pretty. If you're in a relationship, and differences over the fundamental principles of your respective subjectivities are making things difficult, maybe it's time to move on. Find someone new, someone who will accept you and the way your laughably limited human intelligence chooses to codify and rationalize the chaos of existence. After all, in the absence of a clear, unquestionable revelation from God, that's all we're all doing anyway. So remember: take care of yourselves - and each other.
Announcer: Be sure to tune in next time, when KKK strippers battle it out with transvestite omnisexual porn stars! Tomorrow on Springer!
(thanks to Stefan A.)

Speaking of the Herring family . . . . .



dozen garfish
flour for dredging
parsely, minced finely
1 lemon, quartered
head of red radicchio
olive oil
salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper


Clean the garfish by slitting the belly from top to tail, leaving the head. Remove innards with your finger and wash thoroughly under cold water. Toss the fish in some flour that has been seasoned with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, if you like it a little hot. Make sure you get the flour inside the cavity. Shake out the excess flour. Set aside.

Cut up a head of red radicchio into quarters, break it up into bitesize pieces, wash, spin dry and chill in the fridge. Before serving, toss with a little olive oil and some balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.

To finish:
Heat a pan with about a quarter inch of olive oil until smoking. Throw the garfish into the hot oil, turn once, cook until golden, drain on absorbent paper, and salt. Serve with some lemon quarters, and the radicchio salad on the side.


The Death of Marilyn Monroe


The ambulance men touched her cold
body, lifted it, heavy as iron,
onto the stretcher, tried to close the
mouth, closed the eyes, tied the
arms to the sides, moved a caught
strand of hair, as if it mattered,
saw the shape of her breasts, flattened by
gravity, under the sheet
carried her, as if it were she,
down the steps.
These men were never the same. They went out
afterwards, as they always did,
for a drink or two, but they could not meet
each other's eyes.
Their lives took
a turn--one had nightmares, strange
pains, impotence, depression. One did not
like his work, his wife looked
different, his kids. Even death
seemed different to him--a place where she
would be waiting,

and one found himself standing at night
in the doorway to a room of sleep, listening to a
woman breathing,

just an ordinary woman


~ Sharon Olds ~