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Friday November 10th, 2006

Light at the End of the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

"A friend of mine used to go to the same gym
as Heather Mills. One day they were both in the
sauna when Heather's leg fell off on to my
friend. Heather didn't bat an eyelid and just
said 'Sorry, that's mine.' Then took it back."


Dear Folks,

That anecdote about Heather Mills above! I rest my case! How can you dislike anyone with those kind of moves? She can play keyboard in my band any day.

Well, I feel like Christmas and Halloween have both come on the same day with the Democrats rout over the Republicans in the US elections. Add into this mix, the resignation of Donald 'Darth Vader' Rumsfeld (long overdue) and it makes it a good week indeed! In chemistry class, we used to demonstrate how to saturate a solution. You keep adding crystal after crystal to the liquid and yet you see nothing change. Boring. But you keep going. Then you add the one final crystal that saturates the liquid and lo! - the entire crystalline wonderland suddenly appears. It was there all the time - it just took one single speck to make it all visible. That's what this feels like. Beating our heads against this warmongering brick wall for years. Such a hopeless feeling, eh? But suddenly, some cracks are appearing at last. Daylight squeaking through.

I had often hoped that this whole Iraq War mess would be a non-event by the time I got a chance to record my protest song, 'Gift (from One Iraqi Child)' which I wrote long ago, it seems, during the week we started dropping the bombs on those poor people. This recording has been a long time coming. Unfortunately, this song still is very much relevant and I go in the studio in December to record it.

On a lighter note, the ABC Australia -Channel 2 - is broadcasting the live Countdown Spectacular Show that was taped during the Melbourne leg of the tour. If anyone wants to see the four hour concert, tune in on Saturday Dec 2, at 8:30 pm. Countdown Site


Lin Van Hek's book of selected short stories is fresh off the presses. It's called, 'Anna's Box,' and if anyone isn't familiar with Lin's writing, this is an excellent introduction. If you can make it through the first three stories of this book without some kind of an emotional transformation, bordering on a breakdown, you aren't human. 'The Goddess Paddock': long-dead horses, the only witnesses to a horrific child killing, return to aid a psychic townswoman in the hunt for the murderer; 'Anna's Box': a German-Jewish seamstress in Auchswitz finds her heroic moment coming to the aid of a child being abused by guards; 'The Wage Earner': winner of the Age Short Story Contest, (first time in print), and seven other wonderous tales. Back cover introduction written by Arnold Zable. More about Lin's book here at the Difficult Women shop.




Hey Joe!
Like many others, I feel, (not that I feel many others) I am delighted to receive your missives which I enjoy immensely so I have to point out a mistake from Dai Woosnam when referring to Sir Paul McCartney as a Geordie. He hails from a suburb in Liverpool and so he is in fact, a Scouse. To be called a Geordie, a person must be born within the boundaries of the city of Newcastle on Tyne. Oh and Dai, if you're tuned in to this letter, to call McCartney's music bland is akin to branding Gershwin soppy. Lennon was always my favourite also but if 'I'm Down', 'Get Back', 'Paperback Writer' and the like are "bland" then dress me in beige and book me two Day Tripper tickets for a ferry 'cross the Mersey. With apologies to Ratso Rizzo, "I'm rockin' here!" Paul Roberts

Hi Joe....
RE: George W Bush Buttplug
I dont mean to be disrespectful to your fellow country men but I thought for a giggle you might like to look at this website and deal with it in your own way...I had a real good laugh as did many of my US friends........ its all in good fun I reckon... Pauline VB site

(Note: Pauline, I like the IDEA - but it doesn't look like him! (I think the Tom Cruise buttplug does look like Mr Cruise, however, so I'm ordering that one.)

Bush Cites Oil As Reason to Stay in Iraq
By Peter Baker
The Washington Post

Greeley, Colo.- During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, President Bush and his aides sternly dismissed suggestions that the war was all about oil. "Nonsense," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld declared. "This is not about that," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.  Now, more than 3 1/2 years later, someone else is asserting that the war is about oil - President Bush. As he barnstorms across the country campaigning for Republican candidates in Tuesday's elections, Bush has been citing oil as a reason to stay in Iraq. If the United States pulled its troops out prematurely and surrendered the country to insurgents, he warns audiences, it would effectively hand over Iraq's considerable petroleum reserves to terrorists who would use it as a weapon against other countries.

"You can imagine a world in which these extremists and radicals got control of energy resources," he said at a rally here Saturday for Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.). "And then you can imagine them saying, 'We're going to pull a bunch of oil off the market to run your price of oil up unless you do the following. And the following would be along the lines of, well, 'Retreat and let us continue to expand our dark vision.' "

 Bush said extremists controlling Iraq "would use energy as economic blackmail" and try to pressure the United States to abandon its alliance with Israel. At a stop in Missouri on Friday, he suggested that such radicals would be "able to pull millions of barrels of oil off the market, driving the price up to $300 or $400 a barrel." (more) article

(Note: Yawn. Hey, finally some folks in the slow class are getting with the PROGRAM! This has been so evident to every other thinking person on the planet since day one. Check back to the very first newsletter I mailed out on April 3rd 2003. The story of the Tar Baby.

Transcript - George Galloway's September 19, 2005 speech in Chicago

" . . I was thinking the other day about the general. Remember him, the General. President Bush, just before he was first elected, was being interviewed on television. I don't know if they showed it here, but it was endlessly shown to . .. the people of the world. Mr. Bush was being asked about all these foreign leaders he was going to have to deal with if he got elected as President of the United States. The interviewer asked him (it was quite bold of the interviewer, I must say), "Do you know who the leader of Pakistan is?" Bush answered, "Sure. The General." *laughter* The interviewer said, "can you be a bit more specific, maybe a name?" And Bush thought for a moment or five, and he said, "we just call him the General." *laughter* Don't act so surprised. This is a man who thinks that the people who live in Kosovo are called Kosovarian. The people who live in Greece are called Greecians. He thinks that the main problem with imports in the United States is that most of them come from overseas. *laughter* So don't act so surprised. At least Gerald Ford could chew a pretzel and walk in a straight line at the same time. *applause* But, let me tell you about the General, because the General is the leader of a country of hundreds of millions of people, moreover, who now possess nuclear weapons, a fact which doesn't seem to have caused any consternation in the United States administration at all. They go to the ends of the Earth to stop other people even dreaming of having nuclear power, but the General, hey, he can have nuclear rockets if he likes. But the General came to power in a military coup. He seized power in a military coup. So much was this an offense against propriety that the British government immediately suspended him from the British commonwealth and put him on an arms embargo list. But that was until the day after 9/11. Then he ceased to be called the General. He started to be called the President, and then Mr. Bush then knew his name, and he gave him everything that he wanted, not because he'd become any more legitimate, any more democratic, but because he was now an important ally of Bush in his so-called war on terror. (full article) article

Men of Mortuaries Pinup Calendar





Music Reversals

Backward messages in music (commonly known as Backward Masking) have been a controversy ever since the late 60s, when messages were found backwards on some Beatles' albums that hinted Paul McCartney had died. The controversy raged extensively in the late 70s and early 80s when religious fundamentalists claimed that Satan possessed the minds of singers, causing them to insert messages backwards into albums. As we now know, many of these backward messages were in fact examples of Reverse Speech in music. Speech reversals occur naturally in all forms of speech, sung or spoken. This site lists some forwards and backwards .mp3 examples of Reverse Speech in music. site



I read this interesting legal anomaly the other day:

" It is illegal to carry ice cream in your pocket in Lexington, Kentucky."

It started me thinking (always a precarious activity.) So I went online to have a look at Kentucky Law. Here's a couple of other things I found:

Disqualification from office for presenting or accepting challenge to duel -- Further punishment:

Any person who shall, after the adoption of this Constitution, either directly or indirectly, give, accept or knowingly carry a challenge to any person or persons to fight in single combat, with a citizen of this State, with a deadly weapon, either in or out of the State, shall be deprived of the right to hold any office of honor or profit in this Commonwealth; and if said acts, or any of them, be committed within this State, the person or persons so committing them shall be further punished in such manner as the General Assembly may prescribe by law. Text as Ratified on: August 3, 1891, and revised September 28, 1891. History: Not yet amended. Kentucky Constitution Section 239

Pardon of person convicted of dueling:
The Governor shall have power, after five years from the time of the offense, to pardon any person who shall have participated in a duel as principal, second or otherwise, and to restore him to all the rights, privileges and immunities to which he was entitled before such participation. Upon presentation of such pardon the oath prescribed in Section 228 shall be varied to suit the case. Ratified on: August 3, 1891, and revised September 28, 1891. History: Not yet amended. Kentucky Constitution Section 240

Yet, still further nosing around turned up these archaic US laws which have still not been amended:

* It is illegal to drive more than two thousand sheep down Hollywood Boulevard at one time.
* In California, animals are banned from mating publicly within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship.
* In Los Angeles, a man is legally entitled to beat his wife with a leather belt or strap, but the belt can't be wider than 2 inches, unless he has his wife's consent to beat her with a wider strap.
* In Denver it is unlawful to lend your vacuum cleaner to your next-door neighbor.
* In Devon, Connecticut, it is unlawful to walk backwards after sunset.
* In Hartford, Conn., you aren't allowed to cross a street while walking on your hands.
* In Miami, it's illegal for men to be seen publicly in any kind of strapless gown.
* It is illegal to say "Oh, Boy" in Jonesboro, Georgia.
* Idaho state law makes it illegal for a man to give his sweetheart a box of candy weighing less than fifty pounds.
* It is against the law for a monster to enter the corporate limits of Urbana, Illinois.
* Kirkland, Illinois, law forbids bees to fly over the village or through any of its streets.
* In Zion, Ill., it is illegal for anyone to give lighted cigars to dogs, cats, and other domesticated animals kept as pets.
* Back in 1924, a monkey was convicted in South Bend of the crime of smoking a cigarette and sentenced to pay a 25 dollar fine and the trial costs.
* In Gary, Ind., persons are prohibited from attending a movie house or other theater and from riding a public streetcar within four hours of eating garlic.
* Horses are forbidden to eat fire hydrants in Marshalltown, Iowa.
* Kansas state law requires pedestrians crossing the highways at night to wear tail lights.
* No one may catch fish with his bare hands in Kansas.
* Frankfort, Kentucky, makes it against the law to shoot off a policeman's tie.
* A Kentucky statute says: "No female shall appear in a bathing suit on any highway within this state unless she is escorted by at least two officers or unless she be armed with a club." Later, an amendment proposed: "The provisions of this statute shall not apply to any female weighing less than sixty pounds nor exceeding 200 pounds; nor shall it apply to female horses."
* There is a Massachusetts law requiring all dogs to have their hind legs tied during the month of April.
* It is illegal to take more than 2 baths a month within Boston confines.
* In Detroit, couples are banned from making love in an automobile unless the act takes place while the vehicle is parked on the couple's own property.
* In Michigan, a woman isn't allowed to cut her own hair without her husband's permission.
* In St. Louis, it's illegal to sit on the curb of any city street and drink beer from a bucket.
* New Hampshire law forbids you to tap your feet, nod your head, or in any way keep time to the music in a tavern, restaurant, or cafe.
* In Carrizozo, N.M., it's forbidden for a female to appear unshaven in public (includes legs and
* In Greene, New York, it is illegal to eat peanuts and walk backwards on the sidewalks when a concert is on.
* In Carmel, N.Y., a man can't go outside while wearing a jacket and pants that do not match.
* In Bexley, Ordinance number 223, of 09/09/19 prohibits the installation and usage of slot machines in outhouses.
* In Tulsa, Oklahoma, it is against the law to open a soda bottle without the supervision of a licensed engineer.
* Harthahorne City Ordinance, Section 363, states that it shall be unlawful to put any hypnotized person in a display window.
* The state law of Pennsylvania prohibits singing in the bathtub.
* In certain sections of Pennsylvania many years ago, the Farmer's Anti-Automobile society set up some "rules of the road." In effect, they said:
1. "Automobiles travelling on country roads at night must send up a rocket every mile, then wait ten minutes for the road to clear."
2. "If a driver sees a team of horses, he is to pull to one side of the road and cover his machine with a blanket or dust cover that has been painted to blend into the scenery."
3. "In the event that a horse refuses to pass a car on the road, the owner must take his car apart and conceal the parts in the bushes."
* In Memphis, Tennessee, it is illegal for a woman to drive a car unless there is a man either running or walking in front of it waving a red flag to warn approaching motorists and pedestrians.
* In Tennessee, it is illegal to shoot any game other than whales from a moving automobile.
* It is Texas law that when two trains meet each other at a railroad crossing, each shall come to a full stop, and neither shall proceed until the other has gone.
* Texas law forbids anyone to have a pair of pliers in his possession.
* It is against the law to fish from horseback.
* Virginia law forbids bathtubs in the house; tubs must be kept in the yard.
* In Seattle, Washington, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon that is over six feet in length.
* It's illegal in Wilbur, Washington, to ride an ugly horse.


L'Institute de Gastromdectomy


One of the best kept secrets in the close knit world of food is the legend of the great Australia Chef Josef El BulliDustii, and his L'Institute de Gastromdectomy, in the wine regions of Southern Victoria. Chef Josef is the antithesis of the celebrity chef, refusing to be photographed, publish cookbooks, appear on television shows - or even cook. He has been infrequently spotted showing up unannounced at local villagers' houses around dinnertime.

Among chefs-in-the-know, Chef Josef El BulliDustii's theoretical contribution to modern cuisine in the 21st Century is without peer. Some say he is the seminal influence from whence it all begins. (Some don't. Boom boom!) The rare photograph you see of Chef Josef here was taken by our roving newsletter cameraman who had to pose as the gas man checking the meter in order to catch the Chef unawares. As soon as Chef Josef saw the telltale camera, the jig was up and he chased our man down the road with the large knife you see on his belt.

Just a few of the concepts that Chef Josef is tackling at the moment stagger the imagination for sheer audacity. Simply boiling an egg. But in cold water! (Who would have thought?) Chef Josef believes that it is just a matter of time before the egg will boil, demonstrating once again his method of EXTREME slow cooking. Another pioneering technique: young Haricots Vertes, placed in a vacuum and 'steamed' using only the music of Wagner. Finally, one of his more outrageous oeuvres: lightly grilling a complete deep sea tuna on nothing but a tanning salon bed.

Chef Josef is the pioneer of what is now coming to be known as, Nano Gastrotastrophe - the creation of tiny nano-cooking implements such as pans, knives, computers, programmed dna recipes and even entire ovens, created at the molecular level, and injected into food, where the cooking is actually done - much in the manner of self-basting - from the inside out. Just one example: 'L'Oeuf d'Boeuf' - programmed nano-gastrotastrophe materials, syringed into the simple whole raw egg, three minutes later, you break the shell, the contents expand upon contact with air, into a complete Beef Wellington, with a side of Yorkshire Pudding.

Chef Josef El BulliDustii has announced that in 2010, he will release his masterwork, the 245,000 course Degustation Life Work menu, that must be begun by the diner at the age of four years old and continue throughout the entire span of one's life until death. Each dish is specially tailored for each life cycle phase and tooth development. So far, the waiting list for this Degustation Life Work is two years in advance. At the moment, it is progressing through a beta trial run on select life serving inmates of San Quentin prison. While much of the actual menu content is hush-hush due to the high security at the prison, celebrity chef Anthony Boudrain is said to have pulled strings to sample one of the courses: Cigarette Butt Sushi - a singe piece of Baccala Sushi, with crushed Cigarette Butt au Jus, served in the centre of a ten foot gold leaf satellite dish. Boudrain was seen crying with delight and remarking that it was 'magnifique! - like lighting up a Marlboro on the filter-end' - just before he passed out and had to be airlifted to the nearest McDonald's where he was put on a liquid drip of Egg McMuffins.

An example of the extreme slow cooking of Nano Gastrotastrophe follows below. Pardon mon hamfisted attempt to emulate the great maestro:



Pate Twinkie a l'Orange avec Frisée et Fourchette

4 Hostess Twinkies (in Australia, substitute meat pies)
1 medium-sized Valencia orange, organic and grown without any preservatives
1 bunch frisee lettuce, weighing exactly 6 1/2 ounces
1 large live goose
14 bushels corn, grown in a French vineyard
1 plastic serving fork

Mash up the Twinkies into a uniformly grey-brown paste. Confine the goose in a very small yard and force feed it the 14 bushels of corn. This may take up to six months. (Don't worry; the Twinkies will keep.) Slice the orange with a box cutter. Carefully layer orange slices onto the head of frisee lettuce in the exact shape of John F. Kennedy's nose. Kill the goose and remove its liver. Mash it into the Twinkie paste and pack the mixture tightly into a French pastry horn. Squeeze it out carefully onto the orange-frisee mixture. Shove a large plastic serving fork in the middle to convey the message that this is to be eaten rather than used as a creative centerpiece, else your guests may be tres confusee. Serve very, very cold. 




Parkinson's Disease
While spoon-feeding him with one hand
she holds his hand with her other hand,
or rather lets it rest on top of his,
which is permanently clenched shut.
When he turns his head away, she reaches
around and puts in a spoonful blind.
He will not accept the next morsel
until he has completely chewed this one.
His bright squint tells her he finds
the shrimp she has just put in delicious.
She strokes his head very slowly, as if
to cheer up each hair sticking up
from its root in his stricken brain.
Standing behind him, she presses
her cheek to his, kisses his jowl,
and his eyes seem to stop seeing
and do nothing but emit light.
Could heaven be a time, after we are dead,
of remembering the knowledge
flesh had from flesh?  The flesh
of his face is hard, perhaps
from years spent facing down others
until they fell back, and harder
from years of being himself faced down
and falling back, and harder still
from all the while frowning
and beaming and worrying and shouting
and probably letting go in rages.
His face softens into a kind
of quizzical wince, as if one
of the other animals were working at
getting the knack of the human smile.
When picking up a cookie he uses
both thumbtips to grip it
and push it against an index finger
to secure it so that he can lift it.
She takes him to the bathroom,
and when they came out, she is facing him,
walking backwards in front of him
holding his hands, pulling him
when he stops, reminding him to step
when he forgets and starts to pitch forward.
She is leading her old father into the future
as far as they can go, and she is walking
him back into her childhood, where she stood
in bare feet on the toes of his shoes
and they foxtrotted on this same rug.
I watch them closely: she could be teaching him
the last steps that one day she may me.
At this moment, he glints and shines,
as if it will be only a small dislocation
for him to pass from this paradise into the next.
~ Galway Kinnell ~
 (A New Selected Poems)








On the first day God created the dog. He said, "Sit by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. I will give you a life span of twenty years."
 The dog said, "That's too long to be barking. Give me ten years and I'll give you back the other ten." So God agreed.

 On the second day God created the monkey. God said, "Entertain people, do monkey tricks, make them laugh. I'll give you a twenty-year life span."
  The monkey said, "How boring, monkey tricks for twenty years? I don't think so. Dog gave you back ten, so that's what I'll do too, okay?" And God agreed.

 On the third day God created the cow. God said, "You must go to the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer. I will give you a life span of sixty years"
 The cow said, "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. Let me have twenty and I'll give back the other forty." And God agreed again.

 On the forth day God created man. God said, "Eat, sleep,
play, marry and enjoy your life I'll give you twenty years."
 Man said, "What? Only twenty years! Tell you what, I'll take my twenty, and the forty the cow gave back, and the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back, that makes eighty, okay?"
 Okay," said God, "You've got a deal."

 So that is why the first twenty years we eat, sleep, play, and enjoy ourselves; for the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family; for the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren; and for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Life has now been explained to you.
(thanks to Blaise Van Hecke.)