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May 12th, 2006

Happy Gold Star Mothers for Peace Day

"So thank you for reminding me about the importance of being a good mom and a great volunteer as well.'
George W Bush, St Louis, Missouri, January 5, 2004

Dear Folks,

Sunday is Happy Mere, Mutter, Maji, Ammee, Mom, Mummy, Mother, Madre, Mãe, Mëmë, Nënë, Burim, Kryemurgeshë, inahan, nanay, Majka, abatyse, Moeder, Moer, Ema, Emo, Emä, Kantaäiti, Äiti, Màna, Makuahine, Anya, Fu, Iloy, Nanay, Nay, Induk, Ibu, Biang, Nyokap Day !

(Slight Diversion: Do you know that there is also a Happy Mother-in-Law's Day? October 24th. One week before Halloween. True! The classic mother-in-Law joke has been a friend of stand-up comics for decades. For instance:

" My mother-in-law asked me, "If you hate me so much, why do you keep my photo on the shelf above the fireplace?" 
"To keep the kids away from the fire." (boom boom!)

There is evidence that the mother-in-law problem dates back to Roman times: the writer Juvenal says that you can't be happy while the mother-in-law is still alive. Also, if you rearrange the letters in the word "mother-in-law" you get the anagram: "woman Hitler".

Mother-in-law jokes are also very big in India. And amongst Jews. All over Europe. Here's one from Russia:

" A man was standing on the corner of an intersection watching a funeral procession pass by, when suddenly he was struck by an unusual sight: behind the hearse followed a man leading a goat on a rope, who in turn was closely trailed by a line of young men. Approaching the man with a goat, the bystander inquired:
- Excuse me, sir. Can you tell me who has died, and why this strange following?
- Well, you see, the man answered, the person in the hearse is my mother-in-law. Yesterday, while picking vegetables in our garden, she was struck from the behind by this goat and killed instantly.
- Really! the bystander said eagerly. Think I might borrow him for a day or so?
- Sure, responded the man, but you'll have to stand in line like everyone else. "
(boom boom!)

. . . But I digress . . . . .

The ancient origin of Mother's Day lies in the tradition of paying tribute to Rhea, the mother of many deities and Cybele, great mother of Gods. In England, this concept of honoring God-mothers expanded to the extent of including all mothers and thus acquired the name 'Mothering Sunday.' The current trend of celebrating mother's day is about a century and a half old and the credit for its commemoration goes to Anna Jarvis, who persuaded to start a campaign to raise awareness about poor community health conditions. And she advocated that this task of bringing enlightenment among people, can be best done by mothers, thus the day got the name "Mother's Work Day." It happened about 15 years later, that Julia Ward Howe, a Boston poet, encouraged the conducting of a peace rally by mothers, to convey the message of peace and harmony. The idea of mothers participating in the rally was that, they are the ones who have mainly suffered the pain of losing their near and dear ones.

So, in the spirit of the original Mother's Day Peace rallies, tonight, at Trades Hall, in Melbourne, is the Unity for Peace Benefit Concert to raise some funds to bring USA peace activist and Gold Star Mother for Peace, CINDY SHEEHAN, and other key speakers to Melbourne for the Unity For Peace Conference later in the month. Cindy's son was killed in Iraq and she has become the most well-known anti-war activist (and mother) in the world. (details below).

I've added three pages of photo history in a Gallery on my website if anyone is interested in how I got the way I am!



Joe, Joe, Joe,
Subject: religious fanatics lightbulb jokes
You disappoint me. You meant to title your light bulb jokes 'Christian fanatics'. I was in hope of seeing something lampooning the Jews and the Muslims. I'll bet there's a couple Hindu salvos in you. eg. How many Jains does it take to change a light bulb? None. they were so glad to not be able to see each other naked any more. (ba-boom!)

(Note: Ok, How many Jews does it take to change a lightbulb? Two - one to change the bulb and one to buy wholesale. How many Muslims? Two - one to drop the bulb, and one to yell, 'Jihaaaaaaaah!' How many Zen monks does it take? Two - one to change the bulb and one to not change the bulb. How many Rastafarians? Five - one to replace the bulb and four to sing, 'No Lightbulb, No Cry.' Are you happy now?)

Dearest Brother Joe:
RE: Pelmit me to prease exprain: Japanese bledclumb
Here in Politically Correct California your quote above would be considered racist and in poor taste. Sort of as if you did Native American speech like 'Paleface Joe wantum gettum in your face!' Personally, I think everyone should just relax a bit about all this stuff... Ramon

(Note: Hey, Ramon-a, I'm-a like-a tank-a you forra take-a time, a straighten-a me out-a onna dissa ting. Somma time, I'm-a getta lost inna my own-a bullshit-a anna no see-a da forest-a for da tree. After-a all-a, what-a I'm-a know 'bout dis political correct-a, eh? Too much-a spaghetti must-a makea me forgetti. . . gracie, Guiseppe, on behalf of: Chico Marx, Saturday Night Live, Inspector Clouceau, Peter Sellers, Monty Python, Ali G, Wogs Out of Work, Slingblade (Karl), Louie Prima, Richard Pryor, the Swami from Miami, George Gershwin (Porgy & Bess), Crocodile Dundee, Magda Szubanski, Fast Forward and Svetta: 'Veector, you are wery un-attraktive man!'. Brother Ramon, I have always believed that comedy (and therefore creating character voices) IS a form of relaxation and a lateral-thinking method of diffusing racial stereotypes - but you knew that, didn't you? You were just momentarily possessed by the Demon of Political Correctness. Let us pray together, my son: " BEGONE! Ye foul serpent! Leave this innocent Child of Comedy alone. I cast you off in the Name of the the Father Flannigan, the Son-of-a-Gun and the Holy Mackerel, 'dere Kingfish! Twist not his head around so that it disappears into the Void of his own Asspit! Fill not his third eye with the Green Pea Soup of Political Seriousness Blinker Vision! Go back, Humourless Demon, to your Depth of Despondency! I Entreat you to Retreat, Commission you to be De-commissioned, and Banish you to Vanish! Take a Hike! Skeedaddle! Take a Long Walk off a Short One-liner! Fuck thee and the I-Don't-Get-It Gargoyle you rode in on!" That should do it, brother Ramon. If this Entity continues to bother you, take two hours of Marx Brothers films, and a bowl of chicken soup in a straw through your nose. Boom boom! )

[This was] sent to me by my 79 year old Republican brother-in-law. He lives in Texas, by the way, and used to think Dubya' was the best thing that's happened to this country since Ronald Reagan. Wisdom comes later in life for some, I guess. Best,

The Post Turtle

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher, whose  hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a  conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to former Texas Governor, George W. Bush and his elevation to the White House.
The old Texan said, "Well, ya know, Bush is a 'post turtle'."
Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'post turtle' was.
The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle."
The old man saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain, "You know he didn't get there by himself, he doesn't belong there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, and you just want to help the dumb shit get down!

(Note: JJ, I printed this little story in my Mar 5, 2004, newsletter along with a little Photoshop image I made of a two-headed turtle on a post with both Dubya and Mel Gibson's heads. [During the 'Passion of the Post Turtle' controversy, I guess.] Here's the LINK to the newsletter.

Hey Joe,
RE: Most Cover Versions of an Australian Song

That's an interesting question: which Australian song is the most recorded? I have thought about this for some years.

Friday On My Mind (Easybeats) and Physical (Steve Kipner) are obvious candidates.
Brian Cadd's Let Go has been recorded more often than is commonly thought, as has Air Supply's The One That You Love (but, of course, those boys were both Poms). 
Peter Dawson's, 'Boots' - Dawson, who died in 1961, was once the third most recorded artist of all time, and the only artist anywhere whose career spanned wax cylinders to stereo records - was recorded by everyone during WWI, but those are Rudyard Kipling's words, believe it or not.
I think there is a dark horse - and I am convinced he is the winner: our very own, Melbourne-born, Percy Grainger. I reckon you'll find that:
Country Gardens - once the soundtrack to Edgell's TV ads in the early 60s - is the most recorded song written by an Australian.
But if one of your readers thinks otherwise, I'd be delighted to hear from them. Best wishes,
Alan Howe

(Note: The song with the most cover versions in the world - according to the Guinness Book of Records - is Lennon and McCartney's 'Yesterday' with more than 3000 versions, followed by Gershwin's 'Summertime' with around 2500.

I think the only way we are going to find out which of the aussie songs hold the Australian record is from the publishers themselves. Somebody has got to put the legwork in to track down this information directly from them. I know 'Friday on My Mind' has been recorded by artists such as David Bowie and Peter Frampton, but it seems more of a live performance song to me - not one that would have generated a lot of different recordings.

As far as 'Country Gardens' goes - well, that one might be disqualified due to the fact that is not really original but really kind of a cover version and arrangement itself of an old Cotswold Morris Dance tune called, ' The Vicar of Bray', written in the early 18th century (appearing in the second edition of Playford's Dancing Master, circa 1730) and given to Percy Grainger by his friend, Cecil Sharp, who had collected and transcribed it. As it was in the public domain, Grainger re-arranged the tune for piano slightly and claimed authorship. (The words, familiar to people over 40, are a late 1950s' Tin Pan Alley addition.) 'Country Gardens' broke all sales records - ie. in the U.S. alone, more than 40.000 copies a year were sold. Until his death in 1961, 'Country Gardens' generated a great deal of Grainger's income. However, after it became hugely successful, he wrote Cecil Sharp, who had originally given him the tune:

"At the risk of seeming impertinent, I take the liberty of again making a suggestion with regard to the royalty of Country Gardens. It has proven even more of a success than I had expected, and you will see from the enclosed photocopy that it has broken Schirmers sales records I hope you will forgive me if I ask you once again if you will not consider sharing the royalty with me. I feel it is quite undeserved that I should enjoy the whole of it myself."

I always thought the lyrics set to this great instrumental tune were inane, but I do have an affection for this particular kid's variation I found:

What do you do
if you wanna go loo
in the English Country Garden?

Pull down your pants
And suffocate the ants
in the English Country Garden.

Get a little spade
and bury what you made
in the English Country Garden.

Dig a little hole
and fertilize a mole
in the English Country Garden.

Reveal your tush
and go behind a bush
in the English Country Garden.

Crouch in the mud
and make a loud thud
in the English Country Garden," etc etc . . .


And as for, 'BOOTS' - according to Wikipedia and various online sources, that song was actually written by Rudyard Kipling and J.P. McCall. Peter Dawson was the singer who made it famous and was born in 1882 and was an Australian bass/baritone in the 1920s and 1930s, when he was possibly the most popular singer of that era, often recording under the pseudonym, 'Hector Grant'. He sang in English, Russian, Spanish, French, Italian and German, although, during the course of the war, he declined to sing in German. Dawson can be compared to modern day superstars. The Guinness Book of Recorded Sound includes him in its all-time Hall of Fame, alongside Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and The Beatles. 'Boots' was to become the most popular of all his recordings and has remained in the EMI catalogue somewhere in the world, either as a 78 rpm, LP, or CD for more than 70 years. (But who are the list of artists who have covered it is the main point?) Peter Dawson was also the man who made Waltzing Matilda the anthem it is today. (LISTEN to his version here.)

And what about WALTZING MATILDA itself? Surely there must be a lot of recorded versions of this popular song out there. Maybe some publisher/readers can offer some insights into these matters?


One Thing They Aren't - Maternal
By Natalie Angier

Oh, mothers! Dear noble, selfless, tender and ferocious defenders of progeny all across nature's phylogeny: How well you deserve our admiration as Mother's Day draws near, and how photogenically you grace the greeting cards that we thrifty offspring will send in lieu of a proper gift.

Here is a mother guinea hen, trailed by a dozen cotton-ball chicks. Here a mother panda and a baby panda share a stalk of bamboo, while over there, a great black eagle dam carries food to her waiting young. We love you, Mom, you're our port in the storm. You alone help clip Mother Nature's bloodstained claws.

But wait. That guinea hen is walking awfully fast. In fact, her brood cannot quite keep up with her, and by the end of the day, whoops, only two chicks still straggle behind. And the mama panda, did she not give birth to twins? So why did just one little panda emerge from her den? As for the African black eagle, her nest is less a Hallmark poem than an Edgar Allan Poe. The mother has gathered prey in abundance, and has hyrax carcasses to spare. Yet she feeds only one of her two eaglets, then stands by looking bored as the fattened bird repeatedly pecks its starving sibling to death. (article)

Actual Contestant Answers from "The Family Feud"

Name something you wear on the beach - "A deckchair"
Name something a blind person might use - "A sword"
Name something you do before going to bed - "Sleep"
Name something you put on walls - "Roofs"
Name an occupation where you need a torch - "A burglar"
Name a song with moon in the title - "Blue suede moon"
Name a famous brother & sister - "Bonnie & Clyde"
Name an item of clothing worn by the 3 musketeers - "A horse"
Name something that floats in the bath - "Water"


Ignoring Colbert, Part Two
by Chris Durang


(There is a full transcript of Colbert's remarks at the bottom of the article, so click on the link and scroll down if you want to read it it first.)

Stephen Colbert was the star attraction at the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night, and his performance was thrilling or insulting or uncomfortable, depending on your point of view. Apparently, according to Editor and Publisher.com, President and Mrs. Bush looked very uncomfortable, and quickly left right afterward. (article)



Hani Hind from Saudi Arabia, says he is unhappily married to a ghost who is threatening to hurt any human woman he marries. He says he has had sex with his ghost wife, Sarahoo, twice, which resulted in the birth of a ghost child which, of course, Hani will never see. Hind is currently in Damascus seeking help to divorce his wife from Islamic scholar Abdel Amir Houedi, who says these human-ghost marriages are not unheard of, but that ghosts aren't dangerous "as long as they are Muslim".

(Note: So who ya gonna call? - 'Ghost Jihadists!')





To raise funds to bring out speakers (including Gold Star Mother for Peace, CINDY SHEEHAN) for the Unity for Peace National Peace Conference in May.

Its our democratic right to be heard, and no-one in the government or the media seems to be listening, but blanketing us with their own agenda.  That's why over 500,000 people marched in New York recently; that's why George Clooney is organising demonstrations;... and our own government is putting a spin on recent events to make themselves look good... (Private Kovco story and the stunt Howard pulled on the state funeral to shut the family up)
Australia's finest musicians, bands and comedians are donating their talent to bring out Speakers for the National Peace Conference.
Comedians --- stars of the Comedy festival:  GREG FLEET, FIONA SCOTT-NORMAN, Martin Pearson, Barbara Joseph.
Musicians ----- DAVID BRIDIE ( from Not Drowning, Waving, My Friend the Chocolate Cake);  JUDY SMALL,  JOE DOLCE and Lin Van Hek; MAL WEBB, and lots more !!!
Date and Time:

Friday May 12th
7 p.m. 
UPSTAIRS in the Trades Hall Bar, Melbourne. 
Tickets: $20 or $10 concession.
The BIGGEST BANG you'll get for your buck ALL YEAR .....
but reserve tickets to avoid disappointment.

Bookings and Info:
from New International Bookshop  
( 03) 9662 3744, or at the  door...
Starts RIGHT on 7 p.m.
Be there EARLY or you definitely will NOT get a seat.
Funds raised for the Unity for Peace Conferenc:


Putin Chastises US on Democratic Ideals
By Judith Ingram

Moscow - President Vladimir Putin took a swipe at the United States in his state of the nation address Wednesday, bristling at being lectured by Vice President Dick Cheney and comparing Washington to a wolf who "eats without listening."

During an emotional moment in the nationally televised speech, Putin used the fairy-tale motif on the need to build a fortress-like house and to illustrate Russia's need to bolster its defenses. He also suggested that Washington puts its political interests above the democratic ideals it claims to cherish.

"Where is all this pathos about protecting human rights and democracy when it comes to the need to pursue their own interests? Here, it seems, everything is allowed, there are no restrictions whatsoever," Putin said, smiling sarcastically in the address to both houses of parliament.

"We are aware what is going on in the world," he said. "Comrade wolf knows whom to eat, he eats without listening, and he's clearly not going to listen to anyone." (article)

Presidential Brain Power

In a report published Monday, the Lovenstein Institute of Scranton, Pennsylvania, detailed its findings of a four-month study of the intelligence quotient of President George W. Bush. Since 1973, the Lovenstein Institute has published its research to the educational community on each new president, which includes the famous "IQ" report among others. There have been twelve presidents over the past 50 years, from F .D. Roosevelt to G. W. Bush, who were rated based on: scholarly achievements, writings that they produced without aid of staff, their ability to speak with clarity, and several other psychological factors, which were then scored using the Swanson/Crain system of intelligence ranking. The study determined the following IQs of each president as accurate to within five percentage points.

In order by presidential term:

      142 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt
      132 - Harry S Truman
      122 - Dwight David Eisenhower
      174 - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
      126 - Lyndon Baines Johnson
      155 - Richard Milhous Nixon
      121 - Gerald R. Ford
      175 - James Earle Carter
      105 - Ronald Wilson Reagan
        98 - George Herbert Walker Bush
      182 - William Jefferson Clinton
        91 - George Walker Bush

In IQ order:

      182 - William Jefferson Clinton
      175 - James Earle Carter
      174 - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
      155 - Richard Milhous Nixon
      147 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt
      132 - Harry S Truman
      126 - Lyndon Baines Johnson
      122 - Dwight David Eisenhower
      121 - Gerald R. Ford
      105 - Ronald Wilson Reagan
        98 - George Herbert Walker Bush
        91 - George Walker Bush

The six Republican presidents of the past 50 years had an average IQ of 115.5, with President Nixon having the highest at 155. President George W. Bush rated the lowest of all the Republicans with an IQ of 91. The six Democrat presidents had IQs with an average of 156, with President Clinton having the highest IQ, at 182. President Lyndon B. Johnson was rated the lowest of all the Democrats with an IQ of 126. No president other than Carter has released his actual IQ (176).

Among comments made concerning the specific testing of President G.W. Bush, his low ratings are due to his apparently difficult command of the English language in public statements, his limited use of vocabulary [6,500 words for Bush versus an average of 11,000 words for other presidents, his lack of scholarly achievements other than a basic MBA, and an absence of any body of work which could be studied on an intellectual basis. The complete report documents the methods and procedures used to arrive at these ratings, including depth of sentence structure and voice stress confidence analysis. "All the Presidents prior to George W. Bush had at least one book under their belt, and most had written several white papers during their education or early careers. Not so with President Bush," Dr. Lovenstein said. "He has no published works or writings, which made it more difficult to arrive at an assessment. We relied more heavily on transcripts of his unscripted public speaking."

Very interesting, but not surprising.
(thanks to Bill Lemke)


Q: Did you hear about the quadriplegic juggler?
A: He dropped all the quadriplegics.
(boom boom . . . . . . . . . boom.)




Here's an interesting chess playing artwork applet that allows you to graphically 'see' the range of moves that a chess computer is contemplating via a colourful gridwork of lines after each move. " The goal of the [work] is not to make an expert chess playing program but to lay bare the complex thinking that underlies all strategic thought."

What do the images mean?
When it is your (White's) turn to move, the chess board will gently pulse to show the influence of the various pieces. In the left image, you can see waves over the squares around the king and (very lightly) over the squares where the pawns might capture. When the machine (Black) is thinking, a network of curves is overlaid on the board; (image at right.) The curves show potential moves--often several turns in the future--considered by the computer. Orange curves are moves by black; green curves are ones by white. The brighter curves are thought by the program to be better for white." (site)

My friend, Chris Depasquale, longtime Chess columnist for the Melbourne Age, and an EXTREMELY strong and CREATIVE chess player, wrote this little endearing piece a few years ago:

" Just then the juke-box kicked in, to the melodious strains of Joe Dolce's 1981 world-wide number 1 Shaddupayaface, and it occurred to me I had completely forgotten that every great chess tournament has its own tournament song! Disaster! Just thirty-six hours to the first pawn being pushed in anger, and no tournament song! What was I to do?

Brainwave! I could get Joe Dolce to write the tournament song for me. He is, after all, a local lad and a keen chess player. (Joe sought me out for coaching some years back and is a regular customer at Melbourne's Chess World.) My treasurer's hat came on and my mind raced: what if the tournament song went to number 1 in Australia, the US and Britain, just like Joe's 1981 hit did? The tournament might break even!

Unconsciously, words popped in to my mind to the tune the jukebox was bashing out:


Whatsa matter you? Eh?
Why you mova the knight?
Whadda think you do? Eh?
It's a terrible plight.

Itsa not so bad
A new idea is born
Ah! Pushuppa you pawn!

Whatsa matter you? Eh?
Why you taka the rook?
Whadda think you do? Eh?
It's all in the book.

Itsa not so bad
A new idea is born
Ah! Pushuppa you pawn!

After the jukebox shuddered to a halt, I halted to shudder. The reality was as stark as my empty beer-glass: the prospect of such a song being the 1999 Australian Masters Tournament song was just too horrible to contemplate. " Chris Depasquale - Chess Columnist 'The Age'

(Note: Nice Chris, but . . . errr . . don't give up your dayjob - or your nightjob either, for that matter. I wrote my own chess inspired lyrics a few years ago, which have always reminded me of a Jimi Hendrix song:)



You look at your Position and you see the Trap.
Your Clock's running down and you can't go back.
You're looking for some Strategy that's sane.
You're wondering if you Sacrifice just what you'd have to gain.

Forget the Theory from the Book.
Close your eyes and take another Look.
It's no longer Black & White, once again.
Welcome back to where you've never been.

You're still dizzy from your Success,
You can't tell the Good Moves from the Best.
The King's in the Castle face down on the Throne,
Your Queen is starting to feel just like a guest.

Forget the Theory from the Book.
Close your eyes and take another Look.
It's no longer Black & White, once again.
Welcome back to where you've never been.

The Black Pawn puts the question to your good Bishop:
'Are you going to leave, take something, or just remain?'
And you'ld like more time just to analyze this Line,
'Cause you know it's a Struggle and not a Game.

Forget the Theory from the Book.
Close your eyes and take another Look.
It's no longer Black & White, once again.
Welcome back to where you've never been.


"I was asked to run a marathon. I said, "no way."
They said, 'Please, it's for spastics and blind children.'
So I thought, fuck it, I could win this."



By William Rivers Pitt

OK, I'm freaking out. It's a quiet freak-out, even a mellow one by comparison to ones I've witnessed first-hand and endured personally, but it is happening. I seize up like a poorly-oiled engine several times a day, and my teeth grate together so hard that it sounds like two icebergs colliding in the North Atlantic inside my head. It won't be long now before my body's ability to manufacture endorphins shorts out like an old fuse, and when that happens, I will probably collapse into a gibbering gob of pudding. Blame it on the movies I watch.

You see, I like watching movies. Good ones, bad ones, scary ones, stupid ones, action and adventure and gore and mayhem and mystery, I don't care, but the DVD is in the player so I can unplug my brain for a while every day. My movie collection is on the verge of outgrowing the large shelf I bought to contain it. Yes, I buy movies instead of renting them. I'm that guy who can never return rented movies on time; I wind up paying $276.33 in rental fees to Blockbuster for a movie I could have bought for $14.99.

Over the last few days, a strange theme has developed in my movie-watching. My ears perk up every time I hear a certain word. I heard it while watching "Deep Impact" the other day, again during "Seven," and again during "Thirteen Days." I hear the word, and that's when the freak-out kicks in. I can't control it, and all too often it sneaks up on me. (article)


Q: Why are pirates called pirates?
A: Because they aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhh!
(thanks to popbitch for the jokes!)



Here's a great site to all things pizza! They are including my song, 'Pizza Pizza' on their first volume of 'The Legends of Pizza', and there is a link to the song on their site as well. site



The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook
We have been lucky to discover several previously lost diaries of French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre stuck in between the cushions of our office sofa. These diaries reveal a young Sartre obsessed not with the void, but with food. Apparently Sartre, before discovering philosophy, had hoped to write "a cookbook that will put to rest all notions of flavor forever." The diaries are excerpted here for your perusal.

October 3

Spoke with Camus today about my cookbook. Though he has never actually eaten, he gave me much encouragement. I rushed home immediately to begin work. How excited I am! I have begun my formula for a Denver omelette.

October 4

Still working on the omelette. There have been stumbling blocks. I keep creating omelettes one after another, like soldiers marching into the sea, but each one seems empty, hollow, like stone. I want to create an omelette that expresses the meaninglessness of existence, and instead they taste like cheese. I look at them on the plate, but they do not look back. Tried eating them with the lights off. It did not help. Malraux suggested paprika.

October 6

I have realized that the traditional omelette form (eggs and cheese) is bourgeois. Today I tried making one out of cigarette, some coffee, and four tiny stones. I fed it to Malraux, who puked. I am encouraged, but my journey is still long.

October 10

I find myself trying ever more radical interpretations of traditional dishes, in an effort to somehow express the void I feel so acutely. Today I tried this recipe:

Tuna Casserole

Ingredients: 1 large casserole dish

Place the casserole dish in a cold oven. Place a chair facing the oven and sit in it forever. Think about how hungry you are. When night falls, do not turn on the light.

While a void is expressed in this recipe, I am struck by its inapplicability to the bourgeois lifestyle. How can the eater recognize that the food denied him is a tuna casserole and not some other dish? I am becoming more and more frustrated.

October 25

I have been forced to abandon the project of producing an entire cookbook. Rather, I now seek a single recipe which will, by itself, embody the plight of man in a world ruled by an unfeeling God, as well as providing the eater with at least one ingredient from each of the four basic food groups. To this end, I purchased six hundred pounds of foodstuffs from the corner grocery and locked myself in the kitchen, refusing to admit anyone. After several weeks of work, I produced a recipe calling for two eggs, half a cup of flour, four tons of beef, and a leek. While this is a start, I am afraid I still have much work ahead.

November 15

Today I made a Black Forest cake out of five pounds of cherries and a live beaver, challenging the very definition of the word cake. I was very pleased. Malraux said he admired it greatly, but could not stay for dessert. Still, I feel that this may be my most profound achievement yet, and have resolved to enter it in the Betty Crocker Bake-Off.

November 30

Today was the day of the Bake-Off. Alas, things did not go as I had hoped. During the judging, the beaver became agitated and bit Betty Crocker on the wrist. The beaver's powerful jaws are capable of felling blue spruce in less than ten minutes and proved, needless to say, more than a match for the tender limbs of America's favorite homemaker. I only got third place. Moreover, I am now the subject of a rather nasty lawsuit.

December 1

I have been gaining twenty-five pounds a week for two months, and I am now experiencing light tides. It is stupid to be so fat. My pain and ultimate solitude are still as authentic as they were when I was thin, but seem to impress girls far less. From now on, I will live on cigarettes and black coffee.
(by Marty Smith, Collected by Bert Christensen)


Grilled Italian Sausages, with Broadbeans and Chestnuts

Another throw-together dish with what was lying around but did it come out yummy!

6 linked Italian-style fennel sausages
2 handfuls chestnuts
250 -350 grams of shelled broadbeans
cold pressed olive oil
2 garlic cloves, cut coarsely
salt to taste

Cut an X in the flat side of each chestnut and boil in water for about 10 minutes. Shell while hot, removing the outer and inner skins as much as possible. Set aside. Boil the broadbeans in some salted water until tender. Refresh in cold water and set aside. Grill the sausages on an outdoor barbecue until they are the way you like them. Put a little oil in a pan, toss in the broadbeans, garlic, and chestnuts and place the pan right on the barbecue until the oil is sizzling. Add the sausages, broken up a little, and toss for about 3 minutes. Serve immediately with a green salad and a glass of peppery red wine.


Night Walk

The all-night convenience store's empty
and no one is behind the counter.
You open and shut the glass door a few times
causing a bell to go off,
but no one appears. You only came
to but a pack of cigarettes, maybe
a copy of yesterday's newspaper --
finally you take one and leave
thirty-five cents in its place.
It is freezing, but it is a good thing
to step outside again:
you can feel less alone in the night,
with lights on here and there
between the dark buildings and trees.
Your own among them, somewhere.
There must be thousands of people
in this city who are dying
to welcome you into their small bolted rooms,
to sit you down and tell you
what has happened to their lives.
And the night smells like snow.
Walking home for a moment
you almost believe you could start again.
And an intense love rushes to your heart,
and hope. It's unendurable, unendurable.
~ Franz Wright ~
 (God's Silence)





The Final Headbutt

Three men go into a wine shop and buy a case of cheap wine. The owner of the shop charges them $30. This means they pay $10 each.

As they take the wine back to their car, the owner thinks "I overcharged them. It should have been $25 a case". So he takes 5 dollars in change out of the till, and goes after them to return the money.

However, en route he thinks "I will keep $2 for myself, and give them each back $1".

So now, instead of paying $10 each, they have paid $9.
3 X $9 = what?

Yes, $27.

Add the $2 that the owner took.

Where did the missing dollar go?

(thanks to Dai Woosnam - good luck with this one folks! If anyone figures it out, please let me know.)