Home, CV, Reviews, Testimonials, Recordings, Lyrics, Newsletter Archive, Recipes, Presskit with Photos, Links, Contact

May 6th, 2005

Golden Ladders and Coal Chutes


"If you were plowing a field, which would you rather use? Two strong oxen or 1024 chickens?"
Seymour Cray (1925-1996), father of supercomputing


Hi folks,

Saturday night, May 7th, , 7:30 pm, Melbourne time, I'll be appearing on the Lifestyle Channel, at the Lifestyle Cafe, in Federation Square, as a celebrity chef, (yeah right - more like a Legend in Your Lunchtime) talking about food and music and doing a cooking demonstration of Gozleme, a Anatolian stuffed flat bread. This recipe is so simple even an aged Turkish grandmother could make it! Here's the link to the Turkish recipe for GOZLEME, in case you missed it, from my September 2004 newsletter.

As it was the special Mother's Day show, I offered the suggestion that I could serve the ultimate Mother's Day dish: Placenta with Quail Eggs, (which I actually prepared for my son's homebirth in the late 70s) but the powers-that-be of the show thought I ought to go with something a little less confrontational for the moms. Probably a wise decision, as there was quite an uproar the last time someone tried this on public television in Australia and the UK in the 90s. (If anyone is interested in this story, let me know and I will go into it more next week. Anyway, where you gonna find fresh placenta on a Saturday night?)




Dear Joe, Re: Pope 'Eggs' Benedict XVI
As I understand it, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was not the Cardinals first choice. It was, interestingly, Cardinal Hans Grapje. Grapje was raised in a Catholic school in The Hague and, as a young man, aspired to become a priest, but was drafted into the Army during WWII and spent two years co-piloting B17s until his aircraft was shot down in 1943 and he lost his left arm. Captain Grapje spent the rest of the war as a chaplain, giving spiritual aid to soldiers, both Allied and enemy. After the war, he became a priest, serving as a missionary in Africa, piloting his own plane (in spite of his handicap) to villages across the continent. In 1997, Father Grapje was serving in Zimbabwe when an explosion in a silver mine caused a cave-in. Archbishop Grapje went down into the mine to administer last rights to those too severely injured to move. Another shaft collapsed, and he was buried for three days, suffering multiple injuries, including the loss of his right eye. The high silver content in the mine's air gave him purpura, a life-long condition characterized by purplish skin blotches. Although Cardinal Grapje devoted his life to the service of God as a scholar, mentor, and holy man, church leaders felt that he should never ascend to the Papacy. They felt that the Church would never accept a one-eyed, one-armed, flying purple Papal leader.
Bill Lempke

(Note: Ouch! In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Boom Boom!)

Howdy Joe,
 I'm sure you don't want your newsletter used as a court for verbal tennis, and I understand if you don't want to publish it for that reason, but I feel more than a little compelled to reply to Victor's letter from last week (regarding my letter about the 'yo mama' jokes in the previous newsletter) . . . . . . .

(Note: Dear Craig (and Victor), I am a big fan of verbal tennis. (Especially when two people have to share one racket.) My attitude regarding ongoing debate on issues is this: I usually print a few short volleys (short being the operative word!) and then suggest that the players email each other to continue the match. It's obvious that the newsletter would turn into a weblog, otherwise. So if you and Victor want to exchange more advanced philosophical spitballs, send your email addresses to me, and, with both your permissions, I'll pass them on to each other. Joe.)


Extinct Woodpecker Rediscovered
By Randolph E Schmid


(In last week's installment, you will recall that RAEL, manifesting through the Entity Known as Joseph, promised a delivery of rare Raelian woodpecker eggs in exchange for a small donation for his Spiritual Embassy. A co-incidence? I think not.)

Washington - The ivory-billed woodpecker, once prized for its plumage and sought by American Indians as magical, was thought to be extinct for years. Now it's been sighted again and conservationists are exulting. The striking bird, last seen in 1944, has been rediscovered in the Big Woods area of Arkansas, scientists and conservationists reported Thursday. "This is thrilling beyond words ... after 60 years of fading hope that we would ever see this spectacular bird again," John W. Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, said at a news conference. (article)

(Note: Rael moves in strange ways. Thank you to all those who gave. You know who you are. Or you don't know who you are. One or the other. Here's a little something xtra for the rest of you woodpeckerheads:)


Hush little baby don't you squall
Momma's gonna buy you a crystal ball.
And if you still can't see beyond
Momma's gonna buy you a magic wand.
And if that wand don't change your fate
Momma's gonna teach you to levitate.
And if the astral makes you sick,
Momma's gonna buy you an incense stick.
And if that patchouli smells too rank
She'll buy you a sensory deprivation tank.
And if that tank don't float your bones
Momma's gonna buy you some precious stones.
And if those gems don't ease your heart
Momma's gonna buy you a natal chart.
And if your planets go berserk
Momma's gonna buy you some bodywork.
And if your aura still needs kneading
Momma's gonna buy you a past life reading.
And if your destiny stays hid
Momma's gonna buy you a pyramid.
And if your chakras still feel stressed
Momma's gonna take you on a vision quest.
And if power animals don't come to charm ya
Sorry, kid, it's just your karma.
(thanks to Stephen Ross)


I found some comments, about my song, Shaddap You Face, on a French blogger's site and ran them through my AltaVista translator to help understand what all the fuss was about. Here are a few that I liked:

Shaddap You Face, on pourrait traduire ça par 'ferme ta gueule', non? En voilà un bon conseil... ('Could 'Shaddap You Face', one translate that by ' farm your mouth ', not? In here is a good council...' xoros)

J'adore. J'avais un 33 tours de Nono le petit robot qui l'a chanté en français.
('I adore. I had one 33 turns of Nono the small robot which sang it in French.'
Rudi )

On la chante au boulot au moins une fois par jour :p
('One sings it with the job at least once per day'

C'est pas dans le clip de ce morceau qu'il y a un type qui se prend une pizza sur la tete?
('It is not in the clip of this piece that there is a type which is caught a pizza pie on the tete?'

C'est deux fois meilleur maintenant que j'ai les paroles (et que mon niveau d'anglais s'est un peu amélioré :-)
('It is twice better now than I have the words (and than my English level improved a little.'

Oh, encore un délicieux souvenir de bide qui était réfugié dans ma mémoire reptilienne et qui ressurgi maintenant à la faveur!
('Oh, still a delicious memory which was taken refuge in my memory reptilienne and which re-appeared now with more favour!


War Memories Drive Okinawa's Most Passionate Peace Activist
Fumiko Nakamura promoted militarism to her students in the 1930s. Now she's a pacifist icon.
by Takehiko Kambayashi

 NAHA, JAPAN -- Fumiko Nakamura, a 91-year-old former public school teacher, can't shake the profound remorse she feels for the loss of her students during one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. Before Okinawa, a subtropical island in the Pacific, was turned into a killing field 60 years ago, Ms. Nakamura used to exhort her students to fight for the emperor and for the state. Her students were among more than 200,000 people, including 12,520 Americans, who perished during the Battle of Okinawa, which started in March 1945. She is deeply ashamed of her involvement in the war. "I will carry this sin as long as I live," she says. But her shame hasn't kept her silent. Ever since the war, this diminutive woman has fought for peace, protesting US military presence here, and becoming a pacifist icon. As Japan expands its military roles abroad, her voice has grown louder.
"I see certain parallels between present situations in Japan and in the pre-war period," she warns.
Nakamura grew up under a totalitarian ideology in the 1930s. "We were indoctrinated ... with patriotic songs, slogans, and army propaganda," she recalls. As an elementary-school teacher, Nakamura played a part in that indoctrination. "In class [she] used to ask all of us if we could die for the state," recalls Fumiko Toyama, a student of Nakamura in 1937. "Whenever our 'yes' was not loud enough, she'd snap, 'Speak up!' " Nakamura says she once lived without freedom of speech, so now she values that freedom. "I continue to speak out as long as my mouth works," she declares.

Energy from Ocean Waves

Energetech is a renewable energy technology development and industry advisory company. The company has developed a new and commercially efficient system for extracting energy from ocean waves and converting it to electricity or desalinated water. The Energetech technology now makes it possible for wave energy to provide a cheap, sustainable source of power or water to grid-connected and remote users. (article)
(thanks to Maireid Sullivan)


Pete Seeger Is 86
by Studs Terkel

Some years ago, DownBeat, the jazz journal, referred to Pete Seeger as "America's tuning fork." Along with Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly and Alan Lomax, he was the balladeer who stirred up the American folk-song revival in the late 1940s and early 1950s. His influence among the young was so pervasive that it brought forth this thought: When you see a kid with Adam's apple wildly bobbing and banjo held chest-high, you know that Pete Seeger, like Kilroy, was there. Pete and his wife, Toshi, live in a house he built in Beacon, New York, an upstate town along the Hudson River. His later years have been devoted to the Clearwater, as a schooner and an idea--cleaning up the Hudson River, which had through the years become polluted, "dangerous to all living things." He was 82 when he started the river project. (article)

The Bridal 'Grab and Run'
By Craig S. Smith

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan - When Ainur Tairova realized she was on her way to her wedding, she started choking the driver. The wedding was supposed to be to a man she had met only the day before, and briefly at that. Several of his friends had duped her into getting into a car; they picked up the would-be groom and headed for his home. Once there, she knew, her chances of leaving before nightfall would be slim, and by daybreak, according to local custom, she would have to submit to the role of wife or leave as a tainted woman.
"I told him I didn't want to date anyone," Tairova, 28, recalled earlier this month. "So he decided to kidnap me the next day." Such abductions are common here. More than half of Kyrgyzstan's married women were snatched from the street by their husbands in a custom that is known as "ala kachuu," which translates roughly as "grab and run." In its most benign form, it is a kind of elopement, in which a man whisks away a willing girlfriend. But often it is something more violent. Recent surveys suggest that the rate of abductions has grown steadily over the past 50 years and that currently at least a third of Kyrgyzstan brides are taken against their will.
The custom predates the 12th-century arrival of Islam and appears to have its roots in the region's once-marauding tribes, which periodically stole horses and women from rivals when supplies ran low.


Hints on Pronunciation for Foreigners
Apparently by George Bernard Shaw...

I take it you already know
of tough and bough and cough and dough.
Others may stumble, but not you,
On hiccough, thorough, lough and through.
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
To learn of less familiar traps.

Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead - it's said like bed, not bead.
For goodness sake, don't call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat.
They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.

A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother,
And here is not a match for there,
Nor dear and fear for pear and bear.
And then there's dose and rose and lose
Just look them up--and goose and choose.
And cork and work and card and ward.
And font and front and word and sword.
And do and go, then thwart and cart.
Come, come I've hardly made a start.

A dreadful language? Man alive,
I'd mastered it when I was five!
(thanks to GT)

Donkey Auction

A city boy, Kenny, moved to the country and bought a donkey from an old farmer for $100.00. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day. The next day the farmer drove up and said, "Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died."
Kenny replied, "Well then, just give me my money back."
The farmer said, "Can't do that. I went and spent it already."
Kenny said, "OK then, just unload the donkey."
The farmer asked, "What ya gonna do with him?"
Kenny, "I'm going to raffle him off."
Farmer, " You can't raffle off a dead donkey!"
Kenny, "Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he is dead.
A month later the farmer met up with Kenny and asked, "What happened with that dead donkey?"
Kenny, "I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $898.00."
Farmer, "Didn't anyone complain?"
Kenny, " Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back."
(thanks to Tom Becherer)


Chestnut Pure Lynette

I learned this recipe from my partner, Lin, over the weekend. It originally comes from memories of the way her German-Jewish 'Morma' used to make chestnut puree. What gives Lin's variation its distinction, however, is the carmalized sugar crunch throughout the texture, which requires a small meat grinder, rather than a food mill.

fresh chestnuts, cooked, to yield 5 cups flesh
2 tsp vanilla essence
5 tablespoon rum
castor sugar
1/2 cup castor sugar
full cream
Small meat grinder, with approx no. 5 blade, medium holes

Simmer chestnuts in water for about 25 minutes. Let cool and then cut each chestnut in half, with a small sharp knife, and scoop out the flesh with a tiny pointed spoon, discarding the spoiled ones.

Place chestnuts in a large bowl and sprinkle over 5 tablespoons of rum and 2 tablespoons of cream, and mix thoroughly.

Just before serving, place half cup of castor sugar in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar melts and becomes brown and syrupy.

Pour sugar syrup immediately over the chestnuts. The syrup will re-crystalise when it makes contact with the cool chestnuts. Mix thoroughly.

Press chestnut mixture through the grinder with a spoon, directly into small serving dishes, cranking continuously, until the threadlike 'worms' form into a mound.

Sprinkle with a little rum.

Spoon a little cream, or whipped cream over the top and serve.

If you wish to serve this dish later in the day, or the next day: After you have pressed the chestnut mixture through the grinder place in a container, cover and chill. Just before serving, melt another half cup of sugar until it carmalises, as before, mix into the chestnut mixture and put through the grinder again, directly into serving dishes. (If you don't crystalise the sugar just before serving, it will get soft in the fridge and lose the crunch you want. Also, the chestnut threads will become crumbly as they dry out - hence the neccesity to re-do this final stage with the grinder, just before serving.) Add the rum and cream to finish, and serve.

Mother's Day
(to my children)
I do not doubt you would have liked
one of those pretty mothers in the ads:
complete with adoring husband and happy children.
She's always smiling, and if she cries at all
it is absent of lights and camera,
makeup washed from her face.
But since you were born of my womb, I should tell you:
ever since I was small like you
I wanted to be myself -- and for a woman that's hard --
(even my Guardian Angel refused to watch over me
when she heard).
I cannot tell you that I know the road.
Often I lose my way
and my life has been a painful crossing
navigating reefs, in and out of storms,
refusing to listen to the ghostly sirens
who invite me into the past,
neither compass nor binnacle to show me the way.
But I advance,
go forward holding to the hope
of some distant port
where you, my children -- I'm sure --
will pull in one day
after I've been lost at sea.

~ Daisy Zamora ~
 (Clean Slate, trans. by Margaret Randall and Elinor Randall)