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Friday March 17th, 2006


Do the Math 101:
Sedition and Subtraction

"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."
Julius Caesar


Dear Folks,

Thanks to everyone who enjoyed my live performance of 'Shaddap You Face - Anti-Iraq War Variation', on the Channel Seven TV series, 'Where Are They Now', last Sunday. All 45 seconds or so of it, that is. The production staff at the show, in their infinite non-wisdom, saw fit to subtract and CENSOR all of the political humour and sing-a-long that I inserted into the middle of the song when I performed it. The program went to air last Sunday night, and it was the most ruthless cutting and editing I have ever seen of a guest performance spot on Australian television. Ouch! That hurt. But, from comments I received, I guess it still was entertaining enough, and, after all, what more can we expect from commercial television? Fiddlin' while Iraq burns . . . Et tu, Brute? (Some people call it a Brutus, unnhunhh . . . I call it a Brute.)


I've been invited to take part in the Golden Guy Fawkes Awards at the Old Melbourne Gaol next month. The theme this year is: Sedition. I'll do my best to make up the lost ground then. (Learn About Guy Fawkes here.)

I read somewhere that pirate DVDs of 'Brokeback Mountain' made it to Turkey months before the official cinema screenings. How was the title translated into Turkish? "Faggot Cowboys". Speaking of Turkey, I've included an article herein about a family in Turkey that only walks on all fours. And speaking of 'funny . . . not ha-ha funny' cowboys, this week there are contributions from three of my old high schoolmates from Harvey High School, Class of 1965, in Painesville, Ohio. They still write me, so they must be the few remaining friends I have from those days whose lives were irrevocably changed by the limited edition hand-written book I wrote and passed out at school, when I was fifteen years old, 'The Encyclopaedia of Useless Knowledge for Useless People'. ('Struth! I still have a copy.)

Believe it or not, another one of my old Painesville schoolmates is on the exclusive Press delegation accompanying US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, on her trip to Australia this week! I told him to bring her on by the house, I can guarantee that there will be plenty of Insecurity. She can stay in our Johnny Cash tribute room: The Folsom Prison Suite. It even has an authentic metal crapper. Folks, whenever I hear the name Condoleezza Rice, I always think of some kind of Jamaican side dish - a dish that might go well with something sweet-and-sour, or more accurately, bitter-and-sour, like George W Monkey-Ass Bush Jerk Chicken.

The classic Australia dessert, the Pavlova, was created in honour of Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova's visit to Australia and New Zealand, in 1926 (although Australians and New Zealanders disagree as to which country actually invented it), and Melba Toast and Peach Melba were created by French chef, Escoffier, in honour of the performances, in London, of Australian Diva, Dame Nellie Melba. So it is only fitting that someone create a signature dish in honour of Ms Condoleezza's visit and (lack of) performance in Australia. Who you gonna call? I think our own resident newsletter Chef Genitale d'Espalier is up to the task. Once again, the La Muse de L'Infuse has spoken, et voila: Barbecued Crocodile Tail Condoleezza. (Recipe below.)


Favourite Reader Comments of the Week

Here's something you might like. Best

* Pencils Down Please (Mensa Test) * (test)

It's supposed to tally your answers as you enter them, but it didn't work on my lap top Mac. You can go here for the answers (*after* taking the test.) (answers)

Hey Joe,
I've got another name screwup for you (although it's not a domain name - it's just a Yahoo! group): InvestorSexChange. (it's actually meant to be InvestorsExchange - as you might imagine). Paris would be better if they used more spices in their 'Thai' and 'Indian' restaurants, which are pale imitations of the Australian counterparts. The Australian versions are watered down versions of the actual cuisine, but at least there's still SOME spice. It turns out that all the blather about French food being good is rubbish - unless you like 'nice' tasting bland food, and runny cheese. Give me fresh bread, kalamata olives, Reggiano and anchovies, and a little bowl of balsamic and olive oil, any day. I miss Carlton, even thoug hew found a great Greek restaurant near Notre Dame. I'm looking forward to making your Crawfish recipe this weekend- you can get prawns here that are like mini-lobsters, but I'm hoping to find something more like a good old fashioned crawdad. Cheers,
Geoff T.

Is there any truth to this? I thought you might be interested in this [article below]. How was your trip to P'ville? Hope to see you at the next reunion.
Gary -

* From: Ed Chenel, A police officer in Australia: *

' Hi Yanks, I thought you all would like to see the real figures from Down Under. It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by a new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by our own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The first year results are now in: Australia-wide, homicides are up 6.2 percent, Australia-wide, assaults are up 9.6 percent ; Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)! In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not! and criminals still possess their guns! While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since the criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed. There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the elderly, while the resident is at home. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in "successfully ridding Australian society of guns." You won't see this on the American evening news or hear your governor or members of the State Assembly disseminating this information. The Australian experience speaks for itself. Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws affect only the law-abiding citizens. Take note Americans, before it's too late! FORWARD TO EVERYONE ON YOUR EMAIL LIST. [I DID ] DON'T BE A MEMBER OF THE SILENT MAJORITY. BE ONE OF THE VOCAL MINORITY WHO WON'T LET THIS HAPPEN IN THE U.S.A. "

(Note: Well, Gary, who really knows about statistics. Someone clever once said, "73.2346 % of statistics are made up on the spot." The website that those gun statistics are posted on - - opens with this quote:

"In defense of the world Order, U.S. soldiers would have to kill and die ... We are not going to achieve a New World Order without paying for it in blood, as well as in words and money." Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

The website also has these twisted essays:

Iraq: Before and After U.S. 'Liberation'
Read the book, Saddam Hussein. He's not the monster he's been made out to be. (site)

Its god, its people, its territory. Read and weep! How much territory do they claim? Hear the BBC broadcast, Christian Zionists, pushing the plan for world dominion. Jesus said (to the Pharisees / Rabbis), "Ye are of your father, the devil ... He was a murderer from the beginning ... he is a liar and the father of it." site

. . . . including these lodestones of Load:

"When you read the history of Israel from objective sources, you discover that it is an outlaw state, created by the powers that be by stealing the land from its original inhabitants, and systematically exterminating them ever since." - John Kaminski

"We killed them out of a certain naive hubris. Believing with absolute certitude that now, with the White House, the Senate, and much of the American media in our hands, the lives of others do not count as much as our own..." - Ari Shavat, Reproduced in the New York Times, May 27th, 1999

"One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail." - Rabbi Yaacov Perrin, Feb. 27, 1994

"I want to tell you something very clear, don't worry about American pressure on Israel, we, the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it." - Ariel Sharon to Shimon Peres, October 3rd, 2001, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio. site

Gary, I hope that all this reptile-headed information from www.sweetliberty.org helps put your Australian gun statistics article in the proper context.)


Lessons of Iraq War Start With US History
by Howard Zinn

On the third anniversary of President Bush's Iraq debacle, it's important to consider why the administration so easily fooled so many people into supporting the war. I believe there are two reasons, which go deep into our national culture. One is an absence of historical perspective. The other is an inability to think outside the boundaries of nationalism. . . (article)


Actual Airline Announcements
All too rarely, airline attendants make an effort to make the in flight "safety lecture" and announcements a bit more entertaining. Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:
1. On a Southwest flight (SW has no assigned seating, you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a flight attendant announced, "People, people we're not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!"

 2. On a Continental Flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew, the pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."

 3. On landing, the stewardess said, "Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it's something we'd like to have.

 4. "There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane."

 5. "Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."

 6. As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Ronald Reagan, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella. WHOA!"

 7. After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Memphis, a flight attendant on a Northwest flight announced, "Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted."

 8. From a Southwest Airlines employee: "Welcome aboard Southwest Flight
245 to Tampa.. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised."

 9. "In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite."

 10. "Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Southwest Airlines."

 11. "Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments."

 12. "As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."

 13. And from the pilot during his welcome message: "Delta Airlines is pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!"

 14. Heard on Southwest Airlines just after a very hard landing in Salt Lake City the flight attendant came on the intercom and said, "That was quite a bump, and I know what y'all are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendant's fault, it was the asphalt."

 15. Overheard on an American Airlines flight into Amarillo, Texas, on a particularly windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain was really having to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"

 16. Another flight attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing: "We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."

 17. An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the Passengers exited, smile, and give them a "Thanks for flying our airline." He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said, "Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?" "Why, no, Ma'am," said the pilot. "What is it?" The little old lady said, "Did we land, or were we shot down?"

 18. After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the attendant came on with, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Capt. Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we'll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal."

 19. Part of a flight attendant's arrival announcement: "We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you'll think of US Airways."

 20. Heard on a Southwest Airline flight. "Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing and if you can light 'em, you can smoke 'em."

 21. A plane was taking off from Kennedy Airport. After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude, the captain made an announcement over the intercom, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome to Flight Number 293, nonstop from New York to Los Angeles. The weather ahead is good and, therefore, we should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax... OH, MY GOD!" Silence followed, and after a few minutes, the captain came back on the intercom and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier. While I was talking to you, the flight attendant accidentally spilled a cup of hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants!" A passenger in Coach yelled, "That's nothing. You should see the back of mine.
(thanks to Stephen Ross)


U.S. Military Plans to Make Insect Cyborgs
by Shaun Waterman
WASHINGTON - Facing problems in its efforts to train insects or build robots that can mimic their flying abilities, the U.S. military now wants to develop "insect cyborgs" that can go where its soldiers cannot. The goal is to create technology that can achieve 'the delivery of an insect within five meters of a specific target located at hundred meters away, using electronic remote control, and/or global positioning system.' Once at the target, 'the insect must remain stationary either indefinitely or until otherwise instructed ... (and) must also be able to transmit data from (Department of Defense) relevant sensors ... includ(ing) gas sensors, microphones, video, etc..' The Pentagon is seeking applications from researchers to help them develop technology that can be implanted into living insects to control their movement and transmit video or other sensory data back to their handlers. (article)

Bush Government and Google Set to Face Off in Court
By Michael Liedtke

The Bush administration will renew its effort to find out what people have been looking for on Google Inc.'s Internet-leading search engine, continuing a legal showdown over how much of the Web's vast databases should be shared with the government.  Lawyers for the Justice Department and Google are expected to elaborate on their opposing views in a San Jose hearing scheduled Tuesday before U.S. District Court Judge James Ware. It will mark the first time the Justice Department and Google have sparred in court since the government subpoenaed the Mountain-View, Calif.-based company last summer in an effort to obtain a long list of search requests and Web site addresses. (article)

Soldier Quits Army in Disgust at 'Illegal' American Tactics in Iraq
By Sean Rayment
The Telegraph UK

'We ended the rule of one of history's worst tyrants and in so doing, we not only freed the American people, we made our own people more secure.' - Memorable Dubya Tonguetwister # 23456 - Crawford, Texas, May 3, 2003

An SAS soldier has refused to fight in Iraq and has left the Army over the "illegal" tactics of United States troops and the policies of coalition forces. After three months in Baghdad, Ben Griffin told his commander that he was no longer prepared to fight alongside American forces. He said he had witnessed "dozens of illegal acts" by US troops, claiming they viewed all Iraqis as "untermenschen" - the Nazi term for races regarded as sub-human. The decision marks the first time an SAS soldier has refused to go into combat and quit the Army on moral grounds. It immediately brought to an end Mr Griffin's exemplary, eight-year career in which he also served with the Parachute Regiment, taking part in operations in Northern Ireland, Macedonia and Afghanistan. (article)

French Intellectuals to be Deployed in Afghanistan

PARIS (AP) The ground war in Afghanistan heated up yesterday when the Allies revealed plans to airdrop a platoon of crack French existentialist philosophers into the country to destroy the morale of Taliban zealots by proving the non-existence of God. Elements of the feared Jean-Paul Sartre Brigade, or 'Black Berets', will be parachuted into the combat zones to spread doubt, despondency and existential anomie among the enemy. Hardened by numerous intellectual battles fought during their long occupation of the Left Bank, their first action will be to establish a number of pavement cafes at strategic points near the front lines. There they will drink coffee and talk animatedly about the absurd nature of life and man's lonely isolation in the universe. They will be accompanied by a number of heartbreakingly beautiful girls who will further spread dismay by sticking their tongues in the philosophers' ears while looking remote and unattainable to everyone else. Their leader, Colonel Marc-Ange Belmondo, spoke yesterday of his confidence in the success of their mission. Sorbonne graduate Belmondo, a very intense and unshaven young man in a black pullover, gesticulated wildly and said, "The Taliban are caught in a logical fallacy of the most ridiculous. There is no God and I can prove it. Take your tongue out of my ear, Juliette, I am talking." Belmondo plans to deliver an impassioned thesis on man's nauseating freedom of action with special reference to the work of Foucault and the films of Alfred Hitchcock. However, humanitarian agencies have been quick to condemn the operation as inhumane, pointing out that the effects of passive smoking from the Frenchmen's endless Gitanes could wreak a terrible toll on civilians in the area. Speculation was mounting last night that Britain may also contribute to the effort by dropping Professor Stephen Hawking into Afghanistan to propagate his non-deistic theory of the creation of the universe.
Other tactics to demonstrate the non-existence of God will include the dropping of leaflets pointing out the fact that Michael Jackson has a new album out and Jesse Helms has not died yet. This is only one of several psy-ops programs mounted by the Allies.
(thanks to Stefan)


The Bear

A bear walks into a bar in Billings, Montana and sits down. He bangs on the bar with his paw and demands a beer.
The bartender approaches and says, "We don't serve beer to bears in bars in Billings."
The bear, becoming angry, demands again that he be served a beer.
The bartender tells him again, more forcefully, "We don't serve beer to belligerent bears in bars in Billings."
The bear, very angry now, says, "If you don't serve me a beer, I'm going to eat that lady sitting at the end of the bar."
The bartender says, "Sorry, we don't serve beer to belligerent, bully bears in bars in Billings"
The bear goes to the end of the bar, and, as promised, eats the woman.
He comes back to his seat and again demands a beer.
The bartender states, "Sorry, we don't serve beer to belligerent, bully bears in bars in Billings who are on drugs."
The bear says, "I'm NOT on drugs."

The bartender says, "You are now. That was a barbitchyouate. (boom boom!)
(thanks to Bill Lempke)

Out of the Mouths of Babes

1. Dear God, Please put another holiday between Christmas and Easter. There is nothing good in there now.  Amanda
2. Dear God, Thank you for the baby brother but what I asked for was a puppy. I never asked for anything before. You can look it up.  
3. Dear Mr. God, I wish you would not make it so easy for people to come apart I had to have 3 stitches and a shot.  
4. God, I read the bible. What does beget mean? Nobody will tell me. 
Love Alison
5. Dear God, How did you know you were God? Who told you? 
6. Dear God, Is it true my father won't get in Heaven if he uses his golf words in the house? 
7. Dear God, I like the story about Noah the best of all of them. You really made up some good ones. I like the walking on water one, too.
8. Dear God, My Grandpa says you were around when he was a little boy. How far back do you go? 
Love, Dennis
9. Dear God, Do you draw the lines around the countries? If you don't, who does?
10. Dear God, Did you mean for giraffes to look like that or was it an accident?
11. Dear God, In bible times, did they really talk that fancy?
12. Dear God, How come you did all those miracles in the old days and don't do any now?
13. Dear God, I keep waiting for spring, but it never did come yet. What's up? Don't forget.
14. Dear God, My brother told me about how you are born but it just doesn't sound right. What do you say?
15. Dear God, If you watch in Church on Sunday I will show you my new shoes.
16. Dear God, Is Reverend Coe a friend of yours, or do you just know him through the business?
17. Dear God, I do not think anybody could be a better God than you. Well, I just want you to know that. I am not just saying that because you are already God.
18. Dear God, It is great the way you always get the stars in the right place. Why can't you do that with the moon?
19. Dear God, I am doing the best I can. Really !!!!
20. Dear God, I didn't think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tuesday night. That was really cool. 
(thanks to Stephen Ross)


Family May Provide Evolution Clue


Five siblings from Turkey who walk on all fours could provide science with an insight into human evolution, researchers have said. The four sisters and one brother could yield clues to why our ancestors made the transition from four-legged to two-legged animals, says a UK expert. . . Three of the sisters and one brother have only ever walked on two hands and two feet, but another sister alternates between a bipedal and quadrupedal gait. Another brother walks on two feet all the time, but only with difficulty. (article)


Barbecued Crocodile Tail Condoleezza


1 free range Condoleezza (a George W is preferable, but almost impossible to find in Australia)
1 Crocodile Tail
Milk for marinade
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon rosemary
red pepper flakes
1 Sling blade (Some people call it a Kaiser blade, unnhunhh . . . I call it a Sling blade.)
Catchin' Your Croc:
First you has to catch your adult crocodile. The adult crocs has the chewier texture that this type of dish require due to the greater number of chicken heads they has digested over the years. The younger crocs, (unnhunhh . . . some people call them the hatchlings, unnhunhh . . . I call them younger crocs) is fed a diet of minced kangaroo meat (60%) and chicken heads (40%), supplemented with a multi vitamin and mineral premix. Grower animals is fed chicken heads. Adults is fed whole chooks (around 3 per pen per fortnight). That's a lot of crunchy chicken heads for your fully grown reptile. (You CAN taste the difference, believe me.)

The best way to get yourself one them big crocs is to put together a short tourist sightseeing trip for your Condoleezza, (if you can't gets the George W, that is), up to the Darwin Crocodile Farm. Make sure y'all visit at night. Find one of them covered croc pens and unhinge the door. Give the Condoleezza a torch and a copy of 'Hiding in Holes for Dummies'. Casually let it slips that you think you seen one of them Osama Bin Ladens - or even a Harold Holt - poking his head out in there. When the Condoleezza crawls into the hole to checks it out, you quickly closes the gate to the pen and latchs it securely. (Dang! This works every time! unnhunhh . . .) Now you go on home and waits until morning. Come back early and your croc should now have quieted down suspiciously enough for you to harvest it.


To Prepare:
Using a Sling blade (unnhunhh . . . some people call it a Kaiser blade, unnhunhh . . . I call it a Sling blade) cut 4 nice crocodile tail steaks from your crocodile about 3/4" thick. Place milk in a deep bowl, add pepper flakes and rosemary. Season meat with black and cayenne peppers. Place meat in the bowl, add milk as needed to cover. Let marinate 3-4 hours. Remove meat from marinade, discard marinade (on account of the marinade tasting funny, unnhunhh . . . . . . not ha-ha funny, unnhunhh . . .) Pat the meat dry. Re-season the meat, if desired, with black and red peppers. Add salt to taste, if desired. Brush meat with olive oil to reduce sticking, and grill over hot coals, or over medium heat in a gas grill for about 10 minutes each side, brushing with oil again when turning. (unnhunhh . . . goes well with mustard and biscuits . . . and french fried potaters, unnhunhh . . . )


(To the tune of 'Clancy of the Overflow', with apologies to Banjo Paterson)
I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him at the wheat board, years ago
He was chairman when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him
Just on spec, to make the point, that "Howard doesn't want to know".
And an email came directed, not entirely unexpected
(And I think the same was written in some Middle Eastern bar)
'Twas his CEO who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it,
"Trevor Flugge's gone to Baghdad and we don't know where he are.
But when he left Australia, he was going to meet with Alia,
A trucking mob in Jordan, who were keen to grease the wheels
For 10 per cent commission, they could swing Saddam's permission
To get our wheat accepted: it's the mother of all deals.
But I guarantee, Prime Minister, that there's nothing at all sinister:
The chaps at DFAT told us that the sums looked quite okay.
When you're selling wheat in billions, what's a quick 300 million?
If it keeps the Nationals happy it's a tiny price to pay."
Sitting here at Kirribilli, I've been thinking, willy nilly
That it's somehow reminiscent of the children overboard:
But I can handle Rudd and Beazley as I always do, quite easily,
By endlessly protesting that there's nothing untoward.
I'll tell Bush next time I meet him at
The White House, when I greet him,
That I'm sure he'll understand about the wheat board's quid pro quo:
He'll forgive this minor error in the global war on terror
When I look him in the eye and tell him Howard didn't know.

(attributed to Mike Carlton)


Short Crocodile Joke

Q: What's the difference between a politician (or Channel 7 television producer) - and a crocodile?
A: Crocodiles are kind. They tear at your flesh and hold you under the water to drown, then they push your body under an old log to rot.