I am hoping to make it to my US High School 40th Reunion this year, in September, over Labour Day Weekend. Not certain if I will be free yet, but it is high on my priorities, as I want to visit my family in Painesville, Ohio as well. If I can organize a couple of live performances around Cleveland or Kent, that would help. I have never attended any of my High School reunions although I maintain a WEBSITE for our Class of '65 - kind of a virtual reunion centre for those of us who live too far to get back easily. I've got some Then and Now photo pages, with current pics next to the ancient ones from our 1965 graduation yearbook.
Ohio is also a great place to experience those beautiful Covered Bridges you may have heard about. I grew up with them all around me and never paid much attention to them at the time. Now they seem so poetic. In Ashtabula County, they even have a Covered Bridge Festival. There are four main types: Howe truss, Pratt truss, Town Lattice truss, and Inverted Haupt truss. (Photos)
FAVOURITE READER FEEDBACK OF THE WEEK
Re: Letter of Mercy Scam
Outstanding! You had me on the floor at Brother Henny Youngman... Did I mention www.419eater.com to you when we talked? If I didn't, jump on there and see how these guys muck with these scammers. They are pros. Great to hear from you, Johnny Molson (from the hit US radio show, Molson and Lee)
Your reply to the e-mail offer of wealth for evangelical initiatives: incredibly funny and entertaining. Keep up the good work. I just wanted to ensure you that I do read and enjoy your newsletter. See you at the reunion (Harvey High Class of '65) over Labor Day? Regards, LOX
I write to you a little out of the norm. I am a patron to a children's charity called TLC4Kids. They are a remarkable group of dedicated people as most are who do charitable work. TLC deal with any sick child anywhere 4 any amount of time. That's kids from any hospital, any state, with any problem from a stay in hospital to a life threatening illness or disease. If there was one charity that I never want to use its TLC but if I did? thank god for these people and the job they do with dedication, passion and love for the children they help every day. I have been a patron for 3 years and have seen first hand the amazing work they provide visiting children and aiding in distracting the children during delicate procedures and supporting them and there families through tough times. I recently was asked to go into the children's hospital cancer ward ten days after they had lost yet another child. My job was to uplift the ward that was feeling the effect of the loss of a patient even more so when its a young child. It was for me one of the most difficult but yet rewarding experiences of my life. I wont go on but wish to bring your attention to these truly incredible people and their charity. Check it out. Ciao 4 now & keep smiling, John Barresi tlcforkids.org.au
' The United States government does not want billboards in space. The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed to amend its regulations to ensure that it can enforce a law that prohibits "obtrusive" advertising in zero gravity. "Objects placed in orbit, if large enough, could be seen by people around the world for long periods of time," the FAA said in a regulatory filing. Currently, the FAA lacks the authority to enforce the existing law. For instance, outsized billboards deployed by a space company into low Earth orbit could appear as large as the moon and be seen without a telescope, the FAA said. Big and bright advertisements might hinder astronomers. "Large advertisements could destroy the darkness of the night sky," regulators said.' Enjoy your newsletter, ARIF (article)
There are 10 types of people in the world.
Those who understand binary . . . . and those who don't.. (boom boom!)
The Blackshirts are a Melbourne group that dons masks and protests outside the homes of women they deem to be immoral. The mainly male, middle-aged group also heckles women at the Family Court and demands that divorce laws be repealed. They are the most radical and outrageous expression of the frustration some men's groups feel with the Family Court, and what they see as its pro-women bias. (article)
So why was the infamous image of the Blackshirts chosen for a name? Their website states: "Our members needed a name that would stand out. A name that immediately identified us when in the public arena. We think its much better than the names given to loving fathers by other gutless members of the legal fraternity."
THE BLACKSHIRT CODE
1. Protect marriage - family - children
2. Re-instate the meaning of marriage, family and children.
3. Discourage any intrusion into the family home.
4. Promote the best of human traits to children and discourage any alternative.
5. At all times promote and stay within the bounds of the law.
Choosing a good name is tough. I remember the painful sessions trying to think up band names. Sometimes you pick a stinker. I was in a band once called The Cement Chicken. Nobody would tell me how bad that name was.
Now, no matter how worthy some aspects of the Melbourne Blackshirts argument may be - and I agree that the Family Law Court is in need of some serious attention - unfortunately, the awful image of the BLACKSHIRT will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS and FOREVERMORE be associated with and belong to Il Duce: BENITO MUSSOLINI. Period. Extra period with sugar on it.
The Blackshirts (Italian: camicie nere) were Fascist paramilitary groups in Italy during the period immediately following World War I and until the end of World War II. Inspired by Garibaldi's Redshirts, the Blackshirts were organized by Mussolini due to his disgust with the corruption and apathy of the liberal and later socialist Italian government. Originally envisioned as reformers, their methods became harsher as Mussolini's power grew, and they used violence, intimidation, and murder against Mussolini's opponents. One of their distinctive techniques was force-feeding castor oil, often laced with petrol. The ethos and sometimes the uniform were later copied by others who shared Mussolini's political ideas, including Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany, who issued brown shirts to the Sturmabteilung and black uniforms to the Schutzstaffel (also colloquially known as "Blackshirts", although in fact they wore black tunics with brown or white shirts), Sir Oswald Mosley in the United Kingdom (whose British Union of Fascists were also known as the "Blackshirts"), William Dudley Pelley in the United States (Silver Legion of America or "Silver Shirts"), Plínio Salgado in Brazil (whose followers wore green shirts), and Eoin O'Duffy in the Irish Free State (Army Comrades Association or "Blueshirts").
In one of life's little coincidences, I used to be a member of a radical men's group in California called THE BLACKSHORTS.
THE BLACKSHORTS CODE
1. Protect testicles.
2. Avoid electric cattle prods.
3. Discourage any intrusion into one's backside.
4. Remember the Da Wanki Code.
5. No passing wind in the spiderhole.
Unfortunately our leader was indicted on charges of immorally sharing his bed with overage elderly couples during sleepovers. He was captured in a spider hole on his estate at BatCaveLand and hauled off to a much larger spider hole, where he still refuses to remove his signature biancheria intima nera. (Our group, leaderless, subsequently had to disband as no one else could remember the 234 letter Da Wanki Code.)
Violence against Women Rampant in Asia
The Associated Press
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Violence and systematic discrimination against women was rampant in Asia last year, ranging from acid attacks for unpaid dowries in Bangladesh to forced abortion in China, rape by soldiers in Nepal and domestic beatings in Australia, Amnesty International said.
In October, a U.N.-coordinated survey revealed that 36 percent of Australian women had experienced violence in a relationship. It was also reported that domestic violence was the leading cause of premature death and ill-health in women aged 15 to 44, Amnesty said. (article)
Where Girls Marry Rapists for Honour
By Amberin Zaman
The Los Angeles Times
Turkey is working with agencies to combat widespread abuse of women. Education and tougher laws are part of the reform effort.
Diyarbakir, Turkey - Rojda was 13 when she was raped two years ago by a neighbor in this hardscrabble Kurdish province. In order to "cleanse" her honor, she was forced to marry her attacker in an unofficial Islamic-style ceremony. He later was convicted of raping a 7-year-old boy and has been imprisoned. But Rojda's troubles were far from over, according to an account of her ordeal provided by her family and attorneys. She allegedly was raped again in March by her father-in-law, who she said demanded she prostitute herself to earn her keep. When Rojda refused, the relatives and attorneys charge, a group of men held her down and sliced off her nose. Police raided their home after being tipped off by neighbors, who heard her cries. The men were briefly detained, then set free - though they have since been rearrested.
Rojda's story is not unusual: Human rights groups and Turkish officials say violence against women is widespread in Turkey, though statistics are hard to come by because so many attacks go unreported. They blame the violence on poverty, a lack of education and the patriarchal structure prevalent in much of Turkish society. (article)
THE ALPHABET VERSUS THE GODDESS
How Did the Invention of the Alphabet Affect the Balance of Power Between Men and Women?
by Leonard Schlain
There is overwhelming archaeological and historical
evidence that during a long period of prehistory and early history
both men and women worshiped goddesses, women functioned as chief
priests, and property commonly passed through the mother's lineage.
What in culture changed to cause leaders in all Western religions
to condemn goddess worship? Why were women forbidden to conduct
a single significant sacrament in these religions? And why did
property begin to pass only through the father's line? What event
in human history could have been so pervasive and immense that
it literally changed the sex of God?
. . . I was struck by the thought that the demise of the Goddess, the plunge in women's status, and the advent of harsh patriarchy and misogyny occurred around the time that people were learning how to read and write. Perhaps there was something in the way people acquired this new skill that changed the brain's actual structure. We know that in the developing brain of a child, differing kinds of learning will strengthen some neuronal pathways and weaken others. Extrapolating the experience of an individual to a culture, I hypothesized that when a critical mass of people within a society acquire literacy, especially alphabet literacy, left hemispheric modes of thought are reinforced at the expense of right hemispheric ones, which manifests as a decline in the status of images, women's rights, and goddess worship. The more I turned this idea over in my mind the more correlations appeared. Like a dog worrying a bone, I found this connection compelling and could not let it go until I had superimposed it on many different historical periods and across cultural divides. . . .. . . By profession, I am a surgeon. I head a department at my medical center and I am an associate professor of surgery at a medical school. As a vascular surgeon operating on carotid arteries that supply blood to the brain, I have had the opportunity to observe firsthand the profoundly different functions performed by each of the brain's hemispheres. My unique perspective led me to propose a neuroanatomical hypothesis to explain why goddesses and priestesses disappeared from Western religions. My hypothesis will ask readers to reconsider many closely held beliefs and open themselves up to entirely new ways of looking at familiar events. (article)
(thanks to john anderson)
NOT ALL EVANGELICALS SUPPORT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION
Preaching to the Choir? Not This Time
By Elisabeth Bumiller
Washington - It's that time of year again when President Bush turns up around the country in sumptuous commencement robes, assures thousands of college graduates that a C average does not preclude the presidency and urges them to go forth and do good. Calvin College, a small evangelical school in the strategic Republican stronghold of Grand Rapids, Mich., seemed a perfect stop on Saturday for the president's message. Or so thought Karl Rove, the White House political chief, who two months ago effectively bumped Calvin's scheduled commencement speaker when he asked that Mr. Bush be invited instead. But events at Calvin did not happen as smoothly as Mr. Rove might have liked. A number of students, faculty members and alumni objected so strongly to the president's visit that by last Friday nearly 800 of them had signed a letter of protest that appeared as a full-page advertisement in The Grand Rapids Press. The letter said, in part, "Your deeds, Mr. President - neglecting the needy to coddle the rich, desecrating the environment and misleading the country into war - do not exemplify the faith we live by." (article)
French Fries Protester, Walter Jones, Regrets
by Jamie Wilson
It was a culinary rebuke that echoed around the world, heightening the sense of tension between Washington and Paris in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. But now the US politician who led the campaign to change the name of french fries to "freedom fries" has turned against the war.
Walter Jones, the Republican congressman for North Carolina who was also the brains behind french toast becoming freedom toast in Capitol Hill restaurants, told a local newspaper the US went to war "with no justification". (article)
By Lucy Sherriff
The US military, planned to use stink bombs, chemicals that cause bad breath, and a so-called "gay-bomb" that would make enemy soldiers irresistible to one another as part of a range of non-lethal, but disruptive and morale-damaging weapons. An Air Force laboratory in Ohio applied for $7.5m funding to develop these, and other similar ideas described as "harassing, annoying and 'bad guy'-identifying chemicals". The 1994 proposal was uncovered by The Sunshine Project, a chemical weapons watchdog group. In the hunt for "Chemicals that influence human behaviour so that discipline and morale in enemy units is adversely affected", the researchers proposed that strong aphrodisiacs be dropped on enemy troops. The idea was that the deliriously loved-up men would unable to resist one another, but would be suffused with regret once the potion wore off. (note: ya reckon?) The "gay bomb" was just one of many ideas. Researchers at the Wright Laboratory planned a chemical weapon that would encourage swarms of wasps of rats to attack the enemy soldier. Other proposals include a chemical that would cause "severe and lasting halitosis", so that enemy soldiers could be identified even out of uniform; a substance to make skin painfully sensitive to sunlight light and a so-called "who me?" bomb, essentially a very large scale stink bomb that would make enemy living quarters unpleasant places to be. That last idea was abandoned because, according to the government papers: "people in many areas of the world do not find faecal odour offensive, since they smell it on a regular basis". (note: wink wink nudge nudge washington dc say no more.) Marine Captain Daniel McSweeney explained that the Pentagon receives hundreds of suggestions for non lethal weapons, but stressed: "Gay Bomb' is not our term. (note: The L.N.B. - Little Nancy Boy - was the official term.) It was not taken seriously. It was not considered for further development." The US observes chemical weapons treaties, he added. (article)
The Stench of Deceit
by Susan Lenfestey
A recent article about the study of pheromones, the powerful sex attractants believed to be picked up through scent, mentioned a curious bit of human evolution that may help explain the sleep-walking demeanor of so many Americans in the face of so much that smells. It seems the tiny sensor in the nose that picks up pheromones has become largely inactive in humans. It barely connects to the brain at all. What else could explain why the pungent smells emanating from the Bush administration, though certainly not sex attractants, get such a little rise out of the celebrity-sniffing media or the comatose public? (article)
A disgruntled woman walks into a pharmacy and
asks the pharmacist, for some arsenic.
He says, "What do you want with arsenic?"
She replies, "I want to kill my husband because he cheats on me with another woman."
The pharmacist says, "I can't sell you arsenic so you can kill your husband, lady. Not even if he is cheating on you with another woman."
She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a picture of her husband in bed with the pharmacist's wife.
The pharmacist says "Oh, I didn't realise you had a prescription."
(thanks to Jim Testa)
Kaminski's Ten Best Writers On The Internet
'I Always Read The Stories These People Write'
1. Dahr Jamail
2. Amy Worthington
3. Michel Chossudovsky
4. Webster Tarpley
5. Joe Vialls
6. Dave MacGowan
7. Chris Floyd
8. Mark Morford
9. Christopher Bollyn
(Note: Radical, occasionally paranoid, sometimes funny,
often brilliant! Includes Aussie Joe Vialls. Brief bios and links.)
A Warning to Car Drivers in Iraq
May 11, 2005
"A few days ago, an American manned check
point confiscated the driver license of a driver and told him
to report to an American military camp near Baghdad airport for
interrogation and in order to retrieve his license. The next day,
the driver did visit the camp and he was allowed in the camp with
his car. He was admitted to a room for an interrogation that lasted
half an hour. At the end of the session, the American interrogator
told him: "OK, there is nothing against you, but you do know
that Iraq is now sovereign and is in charge of its own affairs.
Hence, we have forwarded your papers and license to al-Kadhimia
police station for processing. Therefore, go there with this clearance
to reclaim your license. At the police station, ask for Lt. Hussain
Mohammed who is waiting for you now. Go there now quickly, before
he leaves his shift work".
The driver did leave in a hurry, but was soon alarmed with a feeling that his car was driving as if carrying a heavy load, and he also became suspicious of a low flying helicopter that kept hovering overhead, as if trailing him. He stopped the car and inspected it carefully. He found nearly 100 kilograms of explosives hidden in the back seat and along the two back doors.
The only feasible explanation for this incidence is that the car was indeed booby trapped by the Americans and intended for the al-Khadimiya Shiite district of Baghdad. The helicopter was monitoring his movement and witnessing the anticipated "hideous attack by foreign elements".
The same scenario was repeated in Mosul, in the north of Iraq. A car was confiscated along with the driver's license. He did follow up on the matter and finally reclaimed his car but was told to go to a police station to reclaim his license. Fortunately for him, the car broke down on the way to the police station. The inspecting car mechanic discovered that the spare tire was fully laden with explosives."
(thanks to Stephen Ross)
U.S. Leads Global Attack on Human Rights
By Jeremy Lovell
(Reuters) - Four years after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, human rights are in retreat worldwide and the United States bears most responsibility, rights watchdog Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe the picture is bleak. Governments are increasingly rolling back the rule of law, taking their cue from the U.S.-led war on terror, it said.
"The USA as the unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power sets the tone for governmental behaviour worldwide," Secretary General Irene Khan said in the foreword to Amnesty International's 2005 annual report.
"When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity," she said. (article)
May The Force Please Go Away 13 reasons to be hugely grateful that "Star
Wars," the king of adolescent space epics, is finally over
Can we just say it? Can we admit it now? Is it finally time?
Here goes: Thank the great Sith Lord above that the massive computer-driven marketing hellbeast that is the overblown "Star Wars" epic is finally over.
There I said it. Can we agree? Because the truth is, this most bloated of megamovie franchises hasn't been a certifiable cultural phenom, something to get truly excited about, for over 25 years. Admit it now, get it over with, move on to pretty happy things like puppies and porn and sunshine.
Look, I'm sorry, but I don't care how many
gazillions the last three flicks have made at the box office from
ubergeeks too old to get "Harry Potter" and too emotionally
immature to graduate to real movies. Episodes I-III are mostly
one thing and one thing only: huge exercises in CGI acrobatics,
manic video games writ large, numbly awful movies full of fine
actors reduced to stiff mannequins in bad monk robes and uncomfortable
headpieces delivering stone-cold line readings seemingly written
by that slightly twitchy tin-eared dweeb who sat next you in fifth-grade
algebra, sweatingly. (article)
Watch a great little Star Wars parody created by the Organic Trade Association to spread the seeds of the "organic rebellion." Featuring Cuke Skywalker, Princess Lettuce, Ham Solo, Chewbroccoli, Darth Tater and Obi-Wan Cannoli.
May the Farm be with you.
1) (site 2)
(thanks to Sam Meadmore)
Sausage and Peppers (Salsiccia E Peperoni)
Louis Cropa: You know, they say revenge - is
a dish best eaten cold.
Louis Cropa: What?
Gary : Best . . . served cold.
Louis Cropa: Oh. . .
(final conversation between Louis and Gary, in Dinner Rush.)
Did anyone see the great movie, Dinner Rush
- directed by Bob Giraldi? (A mix between Big Night Out
and The Last Don, with a beautiful music score! The Godfather
of Food. ) If you know this film, you may remember
the Sausage and Peppers dish that Louis Cropa had. (Cropa
is played by Danny Aiello who also played Don Clericuzio in The
Last Don, another one of my favourites, a US TV mini-series,
written by Mario Puzo, of The Godfather.)
Dinner Rush has a beautiful website with three alternative music tracks you can listen to while you browse, including 7 recipes (also available on the Special Features of the DVD.) Please do not miss this film if you liked films like Big Night Out, The Godfather and The Last Don. I get a warm feeling inside just thinking about it. (Of course that could be the wee dram of Laphroaig single malt I just had! Eric Bogle once told me Laphroaig is kind of like getting kicked in the teeth with a peat cutter's boot! I'd say it was more akin to going down on a member of the Women's Peat Cutters Guild!)
Here is my variation of Sausage and Peppers using some home-made sausages I made with minced pork and fresh chestnuts.
500 grams pork, with some fat, for mincing
2 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teas red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
sausage casings (optional)
two green peppers (capsicums), seeds and stems removed, and sliced
two cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
1 onion, sliced medium
Method: To make
the sausages, you need a small meat grinder (or you can
just buy some pork mince from the butcher.) If
you are making the sausages yourself, grind the meat and place
in a bowl. Cut each chestnut with an X on the flat side and boil
in some water for about 10 minutes. Peel each chestnut, removing
the outer and inner skin (as much as possible). Force the chestnut
meat through the grinder and place in the bowl with the sausage
meat, some fennel seeds, red chillie flakes, black pepper and
a healthy dose of salt. More salt than you would think, actually.
Mix thoroughly with your hands. Now comes the tricky part. You
don't really have to put the sausage meat in casings, by the way.
You can just flatten them into patties or else roll them into
sausage shapes like the Macedonians do! But if you have an attachment
for the grinder for sausage casings, you can use that. I don't.
So my butcher suggested I get a large funnel (like one for putting
oil in a tractor) and use that. (I bought a big red one which
doesn't really go with anything else in my kitchen. I goes with
my chainsaw.) Place the sausage casing over the small end
of the funnel. (If anyone tries to fit the casing over the large
end, I suggest you leave now.) Force the sausage meat gently through
the funnel into the casings and twist and cut off each sausage
and set aside. You may have to practice awhile to get the technique
right. (I certainly do!) Careful not to force too hard
and burst the casings. Anyway, after the chaos and mess subside,
you will end up with some beautiful looking salsiccia.
Fry the onions and green peppers in some olive oil. Add the garlic at the last minute. Cook for a minute together and remove from the pan and keep warm. Fry the sausages until ready. Add the peppers and onions back to the pan, mix together and serve hot, with some nice bread. And a side of Laphroaig, Glenlivet or Lagavulin.
Little Known Firewater Fact
Why do golf courses have 18 holes - not 20, or 10, or an even dozen?
During a discussion among the club's membership board at St. Andrews in 1858, a senior member pointed out that it takes exactly 18 shots to polish off a fifth of Scotch. By limiting himself to only one shot of Scotch per hole, the Scot figured a round of golf was finished when the Scotch ran out. (Thanks to Roberta Hurley)