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May 20th, 2005

My Preciousssssssssssssssssss!!!

"One Wing to Wule them all, One Wing to find them,
One Wing to bwing them all and in the dawkness bind them. Cwaaaaaaaaaazy Hobbit!"
from Elmer Fudd Recites Tolkien


Dear Folks,

Well, it looks like chestnut season is starting to wind up and I'm going to miss it, too, as there's nothing more satisfying than to throw a cast iron pan on the stove and snack on a handful of roasted chestnuts with salt, while drinking a couple of bottles of Coriscan Pietra - birra di castagna - chestnut beer- from my chilled Lawd of the Rings commemorative beer mug!

But wait! Now it's The Silver Ring Thing (see article below)! Another fwiggin' Wing. I'm getting winged out in here! Wingworm. A Thwee Wing Fweakin' Circus. A wing around the bathtub of my bwainpan. Debwis in the Brown Wing of Uwanus. Claddagh Wing. Gay and Lesbian Fweedom Wings. The Five Olympic Wings. Whoa . . . . . listen up, people - there are OTHER shapes available. Like the Square, Diamond, Rectangle, Triangle, Hexagon, Octagon, Pentagon, not to mention the Parallelogram, Trapezoid, Octahedron, Pyritohedron, Triacontahedron, Zonohedron etc etc. What about One Rhombic Dodecahedron to Rule Them All? (Oops! I forgot: we already have a US president.) Personally, I think some of these geometric-challenged folks are short a few O-Rings: Torus-shaped (i.e. doughnut-shaped) objects made from elastomeric compounds such as natural or synthetic rubber, and are used to seal parts against fluid movement (air or liquid). O-Rings perform their sealing action by deforming to take the shape of their cavity, after being oversized to guarantee an predetermined interference fit. O-Rings are inserted into cavities defined as glands.) I wrote a song from Ring-overload a couple of years ago called Familiar Ring, with reference to one of the original Ringleaders, Wagner. Here are the LYRICS.


Coffee and Tea

That was a king-daddy of a newsletter, Joe. I sure as hell needed the poem at the end, and maybe a bucket of coffee! Thanks, Margaret

Thanks for buying lots of cups of tea at the Multicultural Tea House at the 'Yagubi' festival the tea house is a fund raiser for the multicutural respite service here in Hervey Bay and you were one of our best customers so thanks Joe, from
Cathy, chief tea cup washer

(Note: The tea was freshly cut lemongrass which was picked daily and served in really CLEAN cups. Thanks Cath.)


E-mail addles the mind. Endless messaging rots brain worse than pot, study finds
Benjamin Pimentel

What's more harmful -- taking a hit or hitting the send button?

A study commissioned by Hewlett-Packard has found that excessive day-to- day use of technology -- whether it's sending e-mails or using mobile phones -- can be more distracting and harmful to the IQ than smoking marijuana.

The research conducted for HP by scientists from the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London warns of the "abuse of always-on technology" in which "workers are literally addicted to checking e-mail and text messages during meetings, in the evening and at weekends."

The study called this condition info-mania. (article)

Librarian's Brush with FBI Shapes her View of the USA Patriot Act
by Joan Airoldi

 It was a moment that librarians had been dreading. On June 8, 2004, an FBI agent stopped at the Deming branch of the Whatcom County Library System in northwest Washington and requested a list of the people who had borrowed a biography of Osama bin Laden. We said no. (article)



"The Whore Lived Like a German"
By Jody K. Biehl, in Berlin

In the past four months, six Muslim women living in Berlin have been brutally murdered by family members. Their crime? Trying to break free and live Western lifestyles. Within their communities, the killers are revered as heroes for preserving their family dignity. How can such a horrific and shockingly archaic practice be flourishing in the heart of Europe? The deaths have sparked momentary outrage, but will they change the grim reality for Muslim women?

The shots came from nowhere and within minutes the young Turkish mother standing at the Berlin bus stop was dead. A telephone call from a relative had brought her to this cold, unforgiving place. She thought she would only be gone for a few minutes and wore a light jacket in the freezing February wind. She had left her five-year-old son asleep in his bed. He awoke looking for his mother, who, like many Turkish women in Germany, harbored a secret life of fear, courage and, ultimately, grief. Now her little boy has his own tragedy to bear: His mother, Hatin Surucu, was not the victim of random violence, but likely died at the hands of her own family in what is known as an "honor killing."

Hatin's crime, it appears, was the desire to lead a normal life in her family's adopted land. The vivacious 23-year-old beauty, who was raised in Berlin, divorced the Turkish cousin she was forced to marry at age 16. She also discarded her Islamic head scarf, enrolled in a technical school where she was training to become an electrician and began dating German men. For her family, such behavior represented the ultimate shame -- the embrace of "corrupt" Western ways. Days after the crime, police arrested her three brothers, ages 25, 24 and 18. The youngest of the three allegedly bragged to his girlfriend about the Feb. 7 killing. At her funeral, Hakin's Turkish-Kurdish parents draped their only daughter's casket in verses from the Koran and buried her according to Muslim tradition. Absent of course, were the brothers, who were in jail. (article)

Turks to Fight 'Honor Killings' of Women
By Sebneb Arsu

Istanbul - In a nondescript building in a remote part of Istanbul, a young woman sat in front of a television on a recent day watching a chilling scene unfold. Panning across the dank walls of a cave, the camera stopped on a primitive drawing of a female form, then dissolved into a modern crime scene showing the chalk outline of a woman's body on a road.  "Every year, dozens of women fall victim," said the menacing voice of Atilla Olgac, an actor who plays the most fearsome character on Turkey's most popular television drama. "Don't be a part of this shame; don't turn a blind eye to murders committed in the name of honor." The video is part of a nationwide campaign in Turkey to bring an end to so-called honor killings, in which a woman is killed by her husband or a male relative for behavior that is perceived as a slight to the dignity and respectability of her family. Rights organizations in Turkey and abroad have long denounced the practice as brutal and unfair to women; men who engage in the same activities are not held accountable. (article)

Kuwait Grants Political Rights to Women
By Hassan M. Fattah

Cairo - Kuwait's Parliament granted full political rights to women on Monday, making way for them to vote and run for office in parliamentary and local elections for the first time in the country's history. The surprise amendment to Kuwait's election law ends a decades-long struggle by women's rights campaigners for full suffrage, and promises to redefine the city-state's political landscape.  "It has been 20 years of work, but at last we got our rights," said Lulua al-Mulla, general secretary of Kuwait's Social Cultural Women's Society, a women's advocacy group. "It is about time. (article)


Molecular Gastronomy

" The late Nicholas Kurti, a physicist in an elite field called molecular gastronomy, argued that the best way to cook a perfect three-minute egg is to cook it for one hour at 140F."
Toronto Star, 7 Apr. 2004


The term "molecular gastronomy" was coined in 1992 by Nicholas Kurti, an Oxford physicist and gourmet who discovered how to make meringue in a vacuum pump. (wink wink nudge nudge say no more!) He founded the biannual cooking conferences at the Ettore Majorana in Sicily, where elite chefs and scientists meet to discuss the physics and chemistry of cooking.

From this comes the interest in applying the techniques of food scientists to fine dining - drying, liquefying, gassing, freezing and generally transforming ingredients into surprising new forms and textures while maintaining the flavours. Early converts include French two-star chef Pierre Gagnaire, who added scallops with liquorice milk to his menu in 1991.

Some sample dishes: Codfish foam with sea-urchin mousse, Warm chocolate fondant with peanut ice-cream and artichoke caramel, Parmesan ice-cream sandwich, Snail porridge, Yeast soup with cinnamon and lemon ice-cream, Salmon poached with liquorice, Smoked bacon and egg ice-cream, Sardine on toast sorbet, Langoustine with fennel tea poured from a pot, Risotto of White Onion, Espresso with Parmesan Air, and Duck breast with olive oil chocolate bonbon. (For more info, see the LIFESTYLE CAFE website.)

(Note: I've been experimenting with my own Molecular Wankstronomical recipes. Here's a few: Mint Toothpaste Sorbet in False Teeth Poaching Liquid, Bombe of Charred Goanna Arse Skin Encirling an Infusion of Wombat Nose Hair Fairy Floss, Mini-tasse de Vegemite Espresso with a hint of SnailTrail Garnish, Risotto of Serrated Australian Indigenous Cardboard with Parmesean Chalk Moussline, and to finish, Breast of Braised Hairless Hobbit Front Bottom served in a Ring Mold of Gollum Poo.)


Rain Forest Petition Is All Wet

" The Brazilian congress is now voting on a project that will reduce the Amazon forest to 50% of its size. . . ."

I gotten quite a few copies of this petition over the past week. The "project" mentioned in the letter was shelved by Brazil's Congress in May 2000, so, at the very least, we can call this one outdated. To further demonstrate its futility, let's put it through the SEVEN TESTS OF ARMCHAIR ACTIVISTS.


Letter of Mercy

(I get a lot of these kind of things and I usually trash them after the first few lines but I felt compelled to answer this one.)

My Lordship/Friend,

Calvary greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am Evangelist Ngozi Obi, a widow to Late Sheik Collins. I am 70 years old; I am now a new Christian convert, suffering from long time cancer of the breast. From all indications, my condition is really deteriorating and is quite obvious that I may not live more than six months, because the cancer stage has gotten to a very severe stage.

My late husband was killed during the Gulf war, and during the period of our marriage we had a son who was also killed in a cold blood during the Gulf war. My late husband was very wealthy and after his death, I inherited all his business and wealth. My personal physician told me that I may not live for more than six months and I am so scared about this. So, I now decided to divide part of this wealth, by contributing to the development of evangelism in Africa, America, Europe and Asian Countries.

I selected you after visiting the website for this purpose and prayed over it, I am willing to donate the sum of $6.000,000.00 Million US Dollars to the motherless baby homes, needy, poor, charity homes and widows too. Please note that, this fund is lying in a Security company therefore my lawyer will file an immediate application for the transfer of the money in the name of your ministry. Please, do not reply me if you have the intention of using this fund for personal use other than enhancement of evangelism.

Lastly, I want you to be praying for me as regards my entire life and my health because I have come to find out since my spiritual birth lately that wealth acquisition without Jesus Christ in one's life is vanity upon vanity.

If you have to die says the Lord, keep fit and I will give you the crown of life. May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.

I await your urgent reply.

Yours in Christ
Evangelist Ngozi Obi



My beloved Evangelist Nogzi Obi (may I call you Obi Kenobi, for short, have mercy!)

Calvary Greetings in return, and Infantry Greetings as well, from a fellow Horsesoldier of our Commander Buffalo Bill Christ the King, praise Him! Happy 70th birthday and congratulations on your recent conversion from whatever lowdown, dirty and ungodly Pazuzu pagan belief you have risen up from Sister, have mercy. My prayers are with you, Daughter Obi Won, in your Trial of Job with your Dreaded Affliction, the mark of Pazuzu if there ever was one, and my sympathy in the six months you have left in your Mortal Coil. (Verily, we are not strangers to this affliction Downunder. Even here in our Melbourne Evangelical congregation, Brother Henny Youngman was also given six months to live by his doctor, but at the end of those selfsame six months he couldn't pay the bill, so, prasie the Lawd, that doctor gave him another six months. Can I have a boom boom, have mercy, Jeeeeeeezus!!!)

It wearies me to hear of the passing of members of your family, Fair Flower, in that accursed Iraq Conflagellation, waged by that Spawn of Snail Scum, Little Bush the Elephantheaded Boy, and Christian prayers and Islamic headscarves are with you in your time of tribulations. But fear not, Lotus Pustule, for is it not written that we shall all meet, the Living and the Dead, one day in the Shade of the Old One's Flowing Beard? Even now you can be assured that your departed Husband, Sheik Collins, and Son, Sheik Collins Junior, are at Peace in blissful nudity in the Hereafter and the Therebefore and the Almighty Mighthavebeen, de-flowering the Vestal Virgins, and de-virginating the Festering Flowers, as was foretold in the Book of Books, on the Page of Pages, written in the Word of Words, by the Writer of Writings. Can I have an Amen?
And your poor departed husband left you twisting amongst the Roots of All Evil, that Accursed Fortune you make mention of. Shame and Sorrows. My heart is sore with wailing and gnashing of teeth, Sister. But have mercy, Praise the Lawd and pass the Direct Deposit Forms! What coincidences abound! I just happen to be the founder and sole director of a company here in Australia called Motherless Baby Home, Needy, Poor, Charity and Widows Pty Ltd! The Lord giveth miracles, sister. I am in the perfect position to relieve the Fear and Weight of Wealth from your feeble shoulder.
The Lawd has illuminated for me a way to have your funds deposited directly into our account here in Australia - without the need for paperwork and lawyers, and all the other legalistic paraphanalia, have mercy. If you go to my website, www.joedolce.net, and simply purchase 6 million dollars worth of my latest evangenlical CD 'Freelovedays,' not only will the funds find their way to the motherless, homeless babies, the needy, poor and widows, but it will also enable you to distribute 6 million dollars worth of this fine fine MIGHTY FINE evangelical CD 'freelovedays,' to any lowdown, dirty and ungodly Pazuzu pagans that you may know who have still not yet come to Christ, via conversion, as you have been fortunate to, my sister. Have mercy. The Lawd do work in mysterious ways.

Let me pray for you as regards your entire life, lock stock, barrel (and any stray Pazuzu Monkey Droppings you may have missed), and may Good Health sustain you until Death uncorks the Bottle of Your Life's Vintage. And verily, I say unto you that wealth acquisition without Christ is vanity upon vanity upon vanity upon vanity until vanity is layered like the Devil's Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato, (Hold Le Mayo, Pazuzuman!), until the Sinful Sauce is dripping down your Spiritual Leg making it sloppy trying to climb the Ladder of Heavenly Reward. (Can I have a Praise Jeeeeeeezus!!!)

Everybody got to die of something, sometime, Sister, so saith the Lawd, so keep fit, especially those big frying chicken eatin' Spiritual thighs I imagine you must have, and thank you for your blessing of the Crown Roast of Life with the Peas and Potatoes of Happiness. And from me in return, may the Fragrant Donkey Whizz Manger Hay of the Baby Jesus sweeten your Mind's Pillow, for all Eternity. Can I have an Amen?

Lawdy Lawd be With You,
Evangelist Dolce the Gimpy
Director and Elder
Motherless Baby Home, Needy, Poor, Charity Home and Widows Pty Ltd


(Note: About PAZUZU (Iraq 800-600 B.C.) You may be familiar already with the image of the demon, Pazuzu, from The Exorcist films. (Once again, Hollywood gets it wrong.) Pazuzu is often depicted with the body of a man but with the head of a lion or dog, talons instead of feet, two pairs of wings, the tail of a scorpion and a large serpentine penis. (Can I have an Amen to that?) He is also depicted with the right hand upward, and the left hand downward; the position of the hands means life and death, or creation and destruction. (The left hand downwards could also mean something else. Boom boom.) Pazuzu, the "king of the evil wind demons," was not entirely unfriendly to mankind. Although Pazuzu was a malevolent force, his image was used on amulets to ward off his enemy Lamashtu, a female demon that preyed on newborn babies and their mothers. Amulets of the demon Pazuzu (or simply of his head and face) were therefore often situated in houses or hung about the necks of pregnant women.)




Maggots Clean Wounds Well
Le Nouvel Observateur

An Australian study confirms maggots' effectiveness in cleaning infected wounds.

The effectiveness of maggots in cleaning infected wounds has been confirmed by an Australian study published Friday, May 13. This ancestral practice, which had fallen into disuse, is now experiencing a return to favor. "Maggots can do a better job of cleaning wounds than a surgeon, who can count on only what his eyes see when he cuts away dead tissue," Doctor Alvin Cham of the Royal Australasian Surgeons' College declared in a communiqué. Maggots, raised for this purpose and sterilized, can act as "micro-surgeons" who "clean and eat what is dead" only, he explains. (article)


The Silver Ring Thing


   " It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable."
1 Thessalonians 4:3-4

Silver Ring Thing (SRT) sexual abstinence program was created by Denny Pattyn and the Youth FORUM Southwest leadership team in 1995. The program was designed to attract the attention of the typical 21st century teenager and offer them protection from the destructive effects of America's sex obsessed culture. More than 3.5 million teenagers from the United States have taken a public pledge before cheering audiences to remain virgins until their wedding night. The Silver Ring Roadshow is one of the groups that stages these virginity carnivals. (article)

Beware the Virgin Army Roadshow
Why the Silver Ring Thing should not be welcomed to Britain

Social scientists at Columbia University conducted a two-year study of 12,000 adolescents to see if abstinence programmes worked. The results were unequivocal. The "pledges" fail - 88 per cent of the abstinence brigade do have sex before marriage. Yet the evangelists did have a clear impact: teens who promised to stay 'pure' were 20 per cent less likely to use condoms when they finally did have sex than normal teens. They were more likely to get the very diseases they have been drilled to fear. But when you try to engage these evangelists in a dialogue about evidence, you suddenly realise you are missing the point. They have a superstitious objection to pre-marital sex that precedes and disregards reason and facts. The Silver Ring Thing website declares that "by sleeping with someone, you are putting up a wall between you and God." That's the core of their argument. STDs are simply a whip to lash against lustful teens. (article)

ACLU Sues HHS over Abstinence Aid
By Ceci Connolly

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit yesterday against the Department of Health and Human Services, accusing the Bush administration of spending federal tax dollars on an abstinence education program that promotes Christianity. Filed in federal court in Boston, the lawsuit alleges that the programs and educational materials distributed by Silver Ring Thing are "permeated with religion" and use "taxpayer dollars to promote religious content, instruction and indoctrination." Silver Ring Thing is a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that promotes abstinence until marriage through its Web site, brochures, videos and seminars. Teenage graduates of the program, after signing a covenant "before God Almighty" to remain virgins, receive a silver ring inscribed with a Bible passage that the group renders as "God wants you to be holy, so you should keep clear of sexual sin." (article)

Liberal Bible-Thumping
By Nicholas D. Kristof

Even aside from his arguments that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and that St. Paul was a self-hating gay, the new book by a former Episcopal bishop of Newark is explosive. John Shelby Spong, the former bishop, tosses a hand grenade into the cultural wars with "The Sins of Scripture," which examines why the Bible - for all its message of love and charity - has often been used through history to oppose democracy and women's rights, to justify slavery and even mass murder. It's a provocative question, and Bishop Spong approaches it with gusto. His mission, he says, is "to force the Christian Church to face its own terrifying history that so often has been justified by quotations from 'the Scriptures.' " (article)



Gnocchi di Ricotta

2 lbs ricotta
2 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat ricotta until creamy, combine eggs and flour a little at a time until it is as thick as pie dough. Divide into 4 parts and shape into 1 inch rolls Cut into 1/2 pieces- repeat with remaining dough Drop dough into salted boiling water a little at a time. When the gnocchi come to the surface, let cook for a few minutes. Add to prepared tomato sauce.


A Contribution to Statistics
Out of a hundred people
those who always know better
-- fifty-two
doubting every step
-- nearly all the rest,
glad to lend a hand
if it doesn't take too long
-- as high as forty-nine,
always good
because they can't be otherwise
-- four, well maybe five,
able to admire without envy
-- eighteen,
suffering illusions
induced by fleeting youth
-- sixty, give or take a few,
not to be taken lightly
-- forty and four,
living in constant fear
of someone or something
-- seventy-seven,
capable of happiness
-- twenty-something tops,
harmless singly, savage in crowds
-- half at least,
when forced by circumstances
-- better not to know
even ballpark figures,
wise after the fact
-- just a couple more
than wise before it,
taking only things from life
-- thirty
(I wish I were wrong),
hunched in pain,
no flashlight in the dark
-- eighty-three
sooner or later,
-- thirty-five, which is a lot,
and understanding
-- three,
worthy of compassion
-- ninety-nine,
-- a hundred out of a hundred.
Thus far this figure still remains unchanged.
~ Wislawa Szymborska ~
 (Poems: New and Selected, trans. by S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh)