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June 9th, 2005

The Discovery of Women

"It is said that the greatest discovery of the 19th century is the discovery of women."
Louisa Lawson


Hi folks,

I'm sending this shortened newsletter out a day early this week as I'm working this weekend in Grenfell, NSW, at the HENRY LAWSON ARTS FESTIVAL performing the song I wrote, HILL OF DEATH, from the poem written by Henry's mother, LOUSIA LAWSON - a wonderful honour, to say the least. Grenfell is also Henry's birthplace and I have a show at the HENRY LAWSON HIGH SCHOOL on Friday night! Probably down at the end of Henry Lawson Street, at the bottom of Henry Lawson Hill. I wonder if I will find anything named after Lousia? Anyway, I hope to redress that situation a little with HILL OF DEATH. If anyone isn't familar with this extraordinary Australian woman, here is some more information: (bio)


Favourite Letters of the Week


(thanks to Maired Sullivan for the Penguins)

Hi Joe,
I believe you have a warped sense of humour. I can appreciate that and would like to be placed on your newsletter list. thanks,

Hi there,
Love your diary, which I always find absolutely hilarious. Thought you might like an addition to your piece re: the IG-NOBLE PRIZES.  A university in the UK - sorry can't remember which one - publicised their findings of their serious research programme on the best biscuit for dunking into your tea. Also, Coca-Cola UK withdrew 500,000 bottles of Disani (or whatever it was called) - NOT because of carcenogens in the water, but because it was discovered that the pure water that was being sold for some extraordinary price was actually KENT tap water. So the cancer story was, I believe, a bit of a cover up for what was actually a huge scam. The carcenogen story was, I understand, linked to Madonna's special Kabbala water being sold for £2+ a bottle because of it's highly spiritual healing properties when it was actually bottled in Canada by a company that had been linked to cancer scares in the past.  Keep on writing...I adore it. love,
Agnes in London

Hi Joe,
As someone who survived studying "communication" at uni in the late 80's, I have to say the JERRY SPRINGER thing was BRILLIANT. And I mean that in a totally pre-modernist, subjective reality kind of way. Cheers ,
Justine S.

Thanks Joe,
I am very aware of DR JOHN HOLT'S work and had hoped to ask some questions in Senate estimates this week on the matter but a clash of times would not permit.  I will instead put questions on notice and let you know when we receive a response.
Senator Lyn Allison

Dear Joe,
Must be secret -- I thought they had no language 'cos they were hard of herring...
(Note: Ouch! Boom boom!)

Hi Joe,
Love the quote from MARK TWAIN, I'm going to pass it around my friends. Now, I was thinking about your recipes, and a couple of interesting trivial thoughts popped into my head.  The origin of the Australian word 'plonk' is actually a bastardization of the French word "blanc" for "un verre de vin blanc," brought home by Aussie soldiers from WWI. French fries.  Now that's interesting. Not French at all.  The French wanted nothing to do with them.  During the time of  Louis XIV who was warring with all and sundry, including the Netherlands (now Belgium and Holland), one of his senior ministers was captured and held in jail for a year in Belgium.  And what pray tell, did they feed him?  Potatoes, mashed, fried, boiled, you name it. Did the French not know of potatoes you ask?  Of course, they were one of the many imports from the colonies.  But the French believed they caused Leprosy, since so many of the people in the colonies had it.  So they wouldn't touch them... even when the man clearly showed how well he had survived on a diet mainly of potatoes... and plentiful fried ones. When he suggested the peasants might like to eat them, since they were going hungry, the king suggested that the court could set an example and eat them themselves.  But to no avail.  The best that foppish powdered-wig set could do was to wear the flowers as boutonnieres. Well, what to do?  "Que faire, alors?"  The minister concerned suggested they put the word about that a most precious crop was being cultivated, and it was to be guarded day and night by the kings guards. (By king's orders, not very seriously). Hey presto!  As the wily peasants were wont to do... poaching, knaving and the like ---- they started pinching the potatoes from the guarded field.  And the rest of the story is history. . ..


Prize Package in Paw Paw

As part of my Sonicbids Electronic Presskit subscription, I get sent regular notices about up and coming song competitions and music festivals that I can apply to as a performer and songwriter. I got this one last week:

" AVALONFEST 2005 - A competition for performers and groups who are not widely known and would like to perform at the Avalon Music and Arts Festival in Paw Paw, West Virginia - to be held August 13-25, 2005. Chief judge this year will be Dalis Allen, Director of the Kerrville Folk Festival. All genres of music accepted. All submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges at Avalon. The top six entries will be awarded 2 free admissions to the Fest, free camping for the weekend, a prize package and a ten-minute period on stage to show their stuff. IMPORTANT: Avalon is a clothing-optional resort."

(Note: A clothing-optional resort? Naturally, and I do mean naturally, the final line caught my attention so I checked out their website. Yep, you guessed it - Holy Beans and Franks, Timothy Learyman! It's a nudist colony festival. In Paw Paw, West Virginia? 'Good ol' boy' country. Didn't they make Deliverance somewhere around there? Which also gives extra added emphasis to that ' . . ten minute period on stage to show one's stuff.' I wonder what the 'prize package' consists of?)




My daughter, BREA, is performing in concert on Saturday June 18th, in Fitzroy, Victoria, with re-sound, a musical group that she has been a member of for the past year. It is the launch of their 2004 CD and they will also present a number of new compositions and works by young artists. Brea's piece will be a multimedia performance that she penned for her honours year in 2004. She will also be performing with David O'Brien in three of Thomas Reiner's, "From Dawn to Spring"  - Songs for Piano and Voice. These are atonal works of splendour and should be a bit of fun. Dance by Nella Randone.

Tickets are available at the door but as the venue only has capacity for 120, let her know if you want a ticket set aside for you.

Saturday 18 June
8:30 pm
The Artery
87-89 Moor Street
Fitzroy, Victoria
tickets: $14 & $10 conc.


Amnesty International Says US Has Secret Jails Where Prisoners are Killed
Washington - The chief of Amnesty International USA alleged Sunday that the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is part of a worldwide network of U.S. jails, some of them secret, where prisoners are mistreated and even killed. William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty's Washington-based branch, speaking on "Fox News Sunday," defended the human rights group's recent criticism of U.S. treatment of detainees at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
 "The U.S. is maintaining an archipelago of prisons around the world, many of them secret prisons, into which people are being literally disappeared, held in indefinite, incommunicado detention without access to lawyers or a judicial system or to their families," Schulz said.  "And in some cases, at least, we know they are being mistreated, abused, tortured and even killed."

Schulz's comments were the latest in a volley of incriminations and denials between Amnesty and the White House. London, England-based Amnesty International's report, released May 25, cited "growing evidence of U.S. war crimes" and labeled the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay as "the gulag of our times." (article)

White House Needs a 'Deep Throat' Today
by Gina Edwards

The revelation of Deep Throat's identity and the resurrected interest in Watergate brought back a flood of memories for former Democratic Sen. George McGovern, the 1972 political opponent of all the president's men. McGovern, who now lives part time on Marco Island, told the Daily News on Thursday that the Watergate story is resounding with the public now because the country is in a time of shaken confidence. "It was a real trauma for the American people to discover this skullduggery was going on all the way up to the president," McGovern said of Watergate. "They're looking to see if there's some clue of this skullduggery going on today." (article)

Longevity Crisis? Kill Grandma
By Barbara Ehrenreich

A specter is stalking the Western world, and it looks a lot like Grandma. As President Bush has repeatedly put it, the problem with Social Security is that "baby boomers will be living longer." Not "too" long, he's careful to say, but long enough to create a fiscal catastrophe. And it's not just Social Security. Medicare, as well as any company rash enough to have offered pensions, may eventually sink under the weight of its obligations to the elderly. A welfare state designed in the era of bacon, eggs and Lucky Strikes cannot expect to survive in an age of "active seniors" who wash down their Viagra with soy milk and think a six-pack is something you get at the gym. (article)


With Father Joseph


"I believe that our Heavenly Father invented man because he was disappointed in the monkey."
Mark Twain

Beloved Friends and Flock, the Lawd move in mysterious ways. Sometime He kick. At 5lbs. 1oz., 3-day-old Aaliyah is a big blessing to her mom and dad. The proud parents say they received a sign she is special in an ultrasound photo taken about a month ago. After taking a closer look at the ultrasound they say there's an image of Jesus Christ in it. It's an image mom and dad say they can see in two of the ultrasound images taken that day. It's also a sign that came when they both needed it most. (article)


Soldiers of Christ: Inside America's Most Powerful Megachurch
By Jeff Sharlet

No pastor in America holds more sway over the political direction of evangelicalism than does Pastor Ted, and no church more than NEW LIFE. It is by no means the largest megachurch, nor is Ted the best-known man of God: SADDLEBACK CHURCH, in southern California, counts 80,000 on its rolls, and its pastor, Rick Warren, has sold 20 million copies of his book The Purpose-Driven Life. But Warren's success has come at the price of passion; his doctrine, though conservative, is bland and his politics too obscured by his self-help message to be potent. Although other churches boast more eminent memberships than Pastor Ted's - near D.C., for example, McLean Bible Church and The Falls Church (an Episcopal church that is, like many "mainline" churches today, now evangelical in all but name) minister to the powerful - such churches are not, like New Life, crucibles for the ideas that inspire the movement, ideas that are forged in the middle of the country and make their way to Washington only over time. Evangelicalism is as much an intellectual as an emotional movement; and what Pastor Ted has built in Colorado Springs is not just a battalion of spiritual warriors but a factory for ideas to arm them. . .

. . .Next came Pastor Larry Stockstill, presenting yet another variation of preacher. He took the stage with his wife, Melanie, who wore a pink pantsuit. Pastor Larry wore a brown pinstripe suit over a striped brown shirt and a golden tie. His voice was Louisiana, with "pulpit" pronounced "pull-peet." "There's a world," he preached, pacing across the stage. "I call it the Underworld." The Underworld, he explained, is similar to what he sees when he goes skin diving; only instead of strange fishes, there's strange people. Too many churches, he said, focus on the Overworld. "That's where the nice people are. The successful people. But the Lord said, 'I'm not sending you to the Overworld, I'm sending you to the Underworld.' Where the creatures are. The critters! The people who are out of it. People you see in Colorado Springs, even. You got an underworld of people. The tattoo crowd, the people into drugs, the people into sex. You find 'em . . . in the Underworld." (article)

America's Religious Right - Saints or Subversives?
By Steve Weissman

 Death by stoning for atheists, adulterers, and practicing male homosexuals. Stoning - or possibly burning at the stake - for atheists, heretics, religious apostates, followers of other religions who proselytize, unmarried females who are unchaste, incorrigible juvenile delinquents, and children who curse or strike their parents. And, oh yes, death to witches, Satanists, and those who commit blasphemy. Does this sound like a radical Islamist nightmare, a replay of Afghanistan under the Taliban? Welcome to the United States of America as Christian Reconstructionists hope to run it. Not as a democracy, which they see as secular heresy. But as a reconstructed Christian nation, complete with biblically sanctioned flogging and slavery. The Bible rules, OK? And, in its name, a small elect of true believers are now seeking capital-D Dominion over every aspects of our government, laws, education, and personal lives. Reconstructionists have become the extremists to watch, and the key to understanding the current political zing of everyone on the religious right from Sunday-go-to-church Southern Baptists to neo-Nazis in Christian identity militias. The movement and its "Dominion Theology" are relatively new, dating from the publication in 1973 of The Institutes of Biblical Law by the late Rousas John Rushdoony. A man of widely acclaimed brilliance and near-encyclopedic knowledge, Rushdoony claimed to descend from a long line of aristocratic Armenian clerics reaching back to the year 315. He himself was an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, not be confused with the generally liberal Presbyterian Church (USA). Rev. Rushdoony was no liberal. Though gentle in his personal demeanor, he and his Chalcedon Foundation preached nothing less than a holy war "to demolish every kind of theory, humanistic, evolutionary, idolatrous, or otherwise, and every kind of rampart or opposition to the dominion of God in Christ." (article)


(But, Friends and Flock . . . . . . . there do remain HOPE!)



B.I.T.C.H. - B.ringing I.ntegrity T.o C.hristian H.omemakers
A Baptist Ladies service organization founded by Mrs. Bowers. Bringing Integrity To Christian Homemakers promotes conservative Republican values and strives to keep Bible-based conversation to a maximum and nonprocreative sex and frozen foods to a minimum in Christian, professionally decorated homes throughout God's Country, America. We are just like Concerned Women for America, except we come from good families, wear this season's clothes and never venture out in public with hair we just dyed the color of a hardwood door over a kitchen sink! Glory!
(thanks to Bill Lemke)


Mrs. Dora Denkins, direct from the Dothan, Alabama chapter of Bringing Integrity To Christian Homemakers, will show everyone how, with a bolt of Rayon, a half-cup of goat's blood and the assistance of a medium-sized long-haired vagrant, everyone can work miracles with the help of Sinplicity Pattern's new fab Summer Shroud of Turin. The pattern is available in both "historic" and "tea-length" versions. (site)




'He was hilarious, brilliant, brave and right above everything.'
Henry Rollins

'He exhorted his audience to do more than just laugh ­ he wanted them to strive to make the world a better place.'
Jon Barnes, Times Literary Supplement

"That this house notes with sadness the 10th anniversary of the death of Bill Hicks,
on February 26th 1994, at the age of 33; recalls his assertion that his words would be a
bullet in the heart of consumerism, capitalism and the American Dream; and mourns the
passing of one of the few people who may be mentioned as being worthy of inclusion with
Lenny Bruce in any list of unflinching and painfully honest political philosophers."
Stephen Pound MP; Parliamentary House of Commons

William Melvin Hicks was born on December 16th 1961 in Valdosta, Georgia . . . .


HEAR BILL on the Governing Elite

Bill Hicks VISION


RECIPES - Two Dishes with Dried Fava Beans

Dried Fava Bean and Chestnut Soup
(Favi e Castagni Vugghiuti)

6 serves

The most ancient staple of the rustic Sicilian diet is dried fava bean porridge, called maccu. This version contains roasted chestnuts, which give the soup a wonderful subtle flavor.

1 pound dried peeled (yellow) fava beans (450 gr)
4 ounces roasted chestnut meat (120 gr)
8 cups water
Sea salt
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Black pepper

The evening before the dish is to be served, put the fava beans in a colander and wash them under cold running water. Check them for stones and other debris. Transfer the beans to a large bowl, cover with cold water, and allow to soak for 24 hours. After soaking, remove any brown bits of skin from the fava beans by rubbing them between your fingers. Drain and rinse them. Cut an X in the chestnuts and roast in a cast iron skillet on top of the stove until they start to blacken and split open. (You can also roast them over a fire.) Peel, while hot, removing as much of the brown inner skin as you can.. Put the fava beans in a heavy 6-quart pot, and add the spring water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat, and cook, uncovered, at a tremble (barely boiling) for 20 minutes. Add the chestnuts and continue cooking for another 40 minutes, until everything has mostly disintegrated into a thick porridge. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Check for salt, and serve directly from the cooking pot. Drizzle each bowl with a spiral of olive oil and grinding of black pepper to taste.

(pasta fagioli di fava)

4 serves

dried fava beans (2 cups, after soaking)
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced
half red chillie, chopped finely
olive oil
salt & pepper
couple handfuls of green beans, cut into one inch pieces
couple slices of guanciale (or bacon)
parmesean cheese
100-200 gr pasta rigatoni

Soak the fava beans 24 hours in water. Next day, using your fingers, rub the brown skins off the beans and discard. Put the oil in a medium saucepan and cook the onions and guanciale together until the onions are translucent and the guanciale has released its fat. Add the red chillie and the fava beans and cook for a minute. Add enough water to cover, bring to a boil and then and simmer over low heat until the beans start to break up and are soft. About a half hour or so. Keep the water topped up so that the beans remain covered. Add the tomatoes, the green beans and some salt and pepper. Simmer for about an hour until the green beans are tender. In a separate pan, cook some elbow or tube pasta, or use leftovers from a previous pasta meal. Add the cooked pasta to the pot and simmer gently for about 15 minutes until the flavours are well blended. The fava beans should have disintegrated and thickened by now. Serve with parsley and grated parmesean cheese, a sprinkle of fresh olive oil and freshly ground black pepper, and some crusty bread.



Monet Refuses the Operation
Doctor, you say that there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don't know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent.  The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and changes our bones, skin, clothes
to gases.  Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.
~ Lisel Mueller ~
 (Sixty Years of American Poetry, The Academy of American Poets)