November 1st, 2003

God Made Me Write This Newsletter

"When I started writing, the easiest thing for a woman to do was, in a sense, be an 'honorary' man; to pretend she was a man; to put men at the centre of the story which does seem to be very important to men, as girls are used to pretending to be men or women protagonists - whereas boys very often refuse to identify with a woman protagonist in kid's books and this seems to go on into adulthood; that men just can't have their masculinty compromised even by pretending to be a heroine even for a little while. But this strikes me as kind of sad and probably not necessary because I think that all men and women have both men and women inside of them, lots of them, and are capable of being much more that they are told they're capable of being.'

Author Ursula K Le Guin, interviewed by Bill Moyers, from 'The Lathe of Heaven, ' US DVD, Special Features.

Hi folks,

Regarding that insightful Ursula K Le Guin observation above, I don't think men will have any problem identifying with the heroines in Quentin Tarantino's, 'Kill Bill'. Especially Uma Thurmin. She is one street-fighting force of nature! There are no male heros to speak of and ALL the women are tough and violent. (But cute and cuddly at the same time. Hmmm. . . now that's odd.) While I have always objected to Tarantino's Moral Free Zone approach to film making (if he aspires to be included in the pantheon of really important directors such as Kurosawa and Truffaut, he better move on from making violent cartoon drama for the masses and start saying something RESPONSIBLE in his pictures) - BUT the one saving grace of this film, besides the non-stop no-brakes bone-chilling action roller coaster ride, par-for-the-course for a major Hollywood film these days, is the domination of the entire film by women in the manner of Russ Meyer's, Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill! - although he does fall for the cliched Hollywood mistake of using only Women-Who-Look-Like-Models. Make no mistake: this is NOT Charlie's Angels. Limbs are lopped off, headless necks splurt blood left and right. There's even a 16 year old Japanese version of a mix between Chrissie Amphlett (and Angus from AC-DC), in school uniform who swings a chrome-plated spiked ball on a chain.
But where are all the UGLY and tough women fighters, the macho and the Science-Gone-Wrong transsexuals, the ones who look like they've had a bad mat day on World Federation of Wrestling? I want to see some big tatooed hairy arms and legs, bald heads and no-teeth, women built like Mac trucks, with ears missing, boxer's noses, split-lipped scary girls, the ones you KNOW are really tough in real life!
(Of course, maybe that's just my personal taste . . . .)

Here's the website link to the classic Meyer's film if you want to see the masterpiece of this genre and the major template for 'Kill! Bill!': Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!


I got a little flack about the recent joke I published about the man and the boy who went in the woods. I appreciate the comments, by the way, and did not see the predatory overtones in the joke, only the Hansel and Gretel kind of dark side. (I suppose Hansel and Gretel is a very predatory and politically incorrect story as well, but there's not the space to look into that baby today.)

So, as way of peace offering, here is another short father and son joke that I hope doesn't offend:


Q: "Daddy, why don't we put out the trash like other people?"
A: "Shut up and keep chewing."


"What Chance Peace?"
Speaking of Peace, I'll be performing a few Peace songs with KAVISHA MAZZELLA, at the Melbourne Town Hall, next Thursday, in a presentation organised for years 8, 9 and 10 by THE AGE newspaper, The Electoral Commission and VAAST (Victorian Association of Social Studies Teachers.)

This week, I've included my opinion of an important book I've recently read about the Fundamentalist Mormon movement in the US - and two recipes, one with the ancient Italian aphrodisiac, the Truffle. And, of course, my usual Bush-slugfest. For, as Muhammed Ali might have said:

'I got Dubya by the toe,
and I can't let go,
'till he's T.K.O.'

Ciao, Joe

Eyes Wide Shut
The New York Times

WASHINGTON - In the thick of the war with Iraq, President Bush used to pop out of meetings to catch the Iraqi information minister slipcovering grim reality with willful, idiotic optimism.

"He's my man," Mr. Bush laughingly told Tom Brokaw about the entertaining contortions of Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf, a k a "Comical Ali" and "Baghdad Bob," who assured reporters, even as American tanks rumbled in, "There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!" and, "We are winning this war, and we will win the war. . . . This is for sure."

Now Crawford George has morphed into Baghdad Bob.

Speaking to reporters this week, Mr. Bush made the bizarre argument that the worse things get in Iraq, the better news it is. "The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react," he said.

In the Panglossian Potomac, calamities happen for the best. One could almost hear the doubletalk echo of that American officer in Vietnam who said: "It was necessary to destroy the village in order to save it."

The war began with Bush illogic: false intelligence (from Niger to nuclear) used to bolster a false casus belli (imminent threat to our security) based on a quartet of false premises (that we could easily finish off Saddam and the Baathists, scare the terrorists and democratize Iraq without leeching our economy).

Now Bush illogic continues: The more Americans, Iraqis and aid workers who get killed and wounded, the more it is a sign of American progress. The more dangerous Iraq is, the safer the world is. The more troops we seem to need in Iraq, the less we need to send more troops.

The harder it is to find Saddam, Osama and W.M.D., the less they mattered anyhow. The more coordinated, intense and sophisticated the attacks on our soldiers grow, the more "desperate" the enemy is.

In a briefing piped into the Pentagon on Monday from Tikrit, Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno called the insurgents "desperate" eight times. But it is Bush officials who seem desperate when they curtain off reality. They don't even understand the political utility of truth.

After admitting recently that Saddam had no connection to 9/11, the president pounded his finger on his lectern on Tuesday, while vowing to stay in Iraq, and said, "We must never forget the lessons of Sept. 11."

Mr. Bush looked buck-passy when he denied that the White House, which throws up PowerPoint slogans behind his head on TV, was behind the "Mission Accomplished" banner. And Donald Rumsfeld looked duplicitous when he acknowledged in a private memo, after brusquely upbeat public briefings, that America was in for a "long, hard slog" in Iraq and Afghanistan.

No juxtaposition is too absurd to stop Bush officials from insisting nothing is wrong. Car bombs and a blitz of air-to-ground missiles turned Iraq into a hideous tangle of ambulances, stretchers and dead bodies, just after Paul Wolfowitz arrived there to showcase successes.

But the fear of young American soldiers who don't speak the language or understand the culture, who don't know who's going to shoot at them, was captured in a front-page picture in yesterday's Times: two soldiers leaning down to search the pockets of one small Iraqi boy.

Mr. Bush, staring at the campaign hourglass, has ordered that the "Iraqification" of security be speeded up, so Iraqi cannon fodder can replace American sitting ducks. But Iraqification won't work any better than Vietnamization unless the Bush crowd stops spinning.

Neil Sheehan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "A Bright Shining Lie," recalls Robert McNamara making Wolfowitz-like trips to Vietnam, spotlighting good news, yearning to pretend insecure areas were secure.

"McNamara was in a jeep in the Mekong Delta with an old Army colonel from Texas named Dan Porter," Mr. Sheehan told me. "Porter told him, `Mr. Secretary, we've got serious problems here that you're not getting. You ought to know what they are.' And McNamara replied: `I don't want to hear about your problems. I want to hear about your progress.' "

"If you want to be hoodwinked," Mr. Sheehan concludes, "it's easy."  
(thanks to JF)

Joke Alpha

Bush Visits Elementary School

George W. Bush is visiting yet another elementary school. He asks the children to give him an example of a tragedy. A little girl raises her hand and says that if her best friend was walking down the street and was hit by a car and killed that would be a tragedy. Dubya says "No, that would be an accident." A little boy raises his hand and says that if his entire class was on a bus for a field trip and the bus was hit by a train and everyone was killed, that would be a tragedy. Dubya says "No, that would be a great loss." Way in the back of the class Little Johnny raises his hand and Dubya calls on him. "Can you tell me what an example of a tragedy would be, Johnny?" Johnny says, "Well, Mr President, if you were on Air Force One and were fired on by a missile and blown up, that would be a tragedy." Dubya says, "Very good. Now can you tell me why that would be a tragedy?" Johnny says, "Well, it wouldn't be an accident, and it sure as hell wouldn't be a great loss!
(thanks to Frank Dolce)

TRUE DEATH - Rest in Peace on Earth

Obituaries Include: `Removal Of Bush'

The Times-Picayune, New Orleans
Gertrude M. Jones's obituary, as published, on 10/2/2003 reads:

Word has been received that Gertrude M. Jones, 81, passed away on August 25, 2003, under the loving care of the nursing aides of Heritage Manor of Mandeville, Louisiana. She was a native of Lebanon, KY. She was a retired Vice President of Georgia International Life Insurance Company of Atlanta, GA. Her husband, Warren K. Jones predeceased her. Two daughters survive her: Dawn Hunt and her live-in boyfriend, Roland, of Mandeville, LA; and Melba Kovalak and her husband, Drew Kovalak, of Woodbury, MN. Three sisters, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren, also survive her. Funeral services were held in Louisville, KY.
Memorial gifts may be made to any organization that seeks the removal of President George Bush from office.

Here are some of the donations - and another:

Woman ' . . .Thought He Was A Liar'
By Lee Sensenbrenner
The Capital Times

STOUGHTON - Sally Baron, age 71, of Stoughton, died Monday, Aug. 18, 2003, after struggling to recuperate from heart surgery. The daughter of Louis and Evelyn (Morris) Sybeldon, and sister of Jean (Bettagnoli), Bill, Tom and Jim, she was born and raised in the Hurley area. Bill survives. She married James "Slugger" Baron, and was the mother of Jeff (died of leukemia at age 21), Jim (Jen), Joe (Robyn), Judy (Dave LeClair), Maureen (Mike Bettilyon) and Pete; grandmother to Kyle, Andy and Reid (Maureen's), Jessica and Megan (Judy's), Lukas and Kassie (Joe's), and Fletcher, Leslie and Craig (Jim's). She lived her married life in Montreal, Wis., and moved to Stoughton to be closer to family after Slugger's death. She missed her friends "up north" but made many new friends in Stoughton. Sally attended college in Superior. She worked outside the home as an assembly worker, waitress, cook and dietician. Mostly, she took care of her family, especially Slugger, who got around better than he should have after a debilitating mining accident in 1969. She learned to cope with life's trials with laughter and smiles. She also held dear the Bertagnoli family of Janesville; in-laws and their families; various relatives; grand-dog, Scout; and the Packers. A memorial service will be held at COVENANT LUTHERAN CHURCH, Stoughton, at 1 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 22, 2003. Graveside services in Hurley will be held at a later date. Memorials in her honor can be made to any organization working for the removal of President Bush.
(thanks to John Jacobs)

Post-War Toll Surpasses Number of Troops Killed During Invasion

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. military deaths from hostile fire in Iraq have reached a grim landmark with the post-war toll surpassing the number of troops killed during the invasion itself.
The military reported Wednesday the deaths of two more American soldiers when their tank ran over a bomb about 75 miles north of Baghdad Tuesday night.

The Pentagon said this brought to 117 the number of troops killed since President Bush declared major combat over on May 1. The toll surpassed the 115 killed during the actual war, which began on March 20 to topple Saddam Hussein.

Chomsky: Cuba Could Be Next

HAVANA (Reuters) - U.S. linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky said on Wednesday that President Bush will have to "manufacture" another threat to American security to win reelection in 2004 after U.S failure in occupying Iraq. Chomsky, attending a Latin American social sciences conference in Cuba, said that since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, the Bush administration had redefined U.S. national security policy to include the use of force abroad, with or without U.N. approval. "It is a frightened country and it is easy to conjure up an imminent threat," Chomsky said at the launching of a Cuban edition of a book of interviews published by the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, when asked how Bush could get reelected.
"They have a card that they can play ... terrify the population with some invented threat, and that is not very hard to do," he said. After the "disaster" of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Bush could turn his sights on Communist-run Cuba, which his administration officials have charged with developing a biological weapons research program, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of linguistics said. (story)

Book Review

Under The Banner of Heaven - A Story of Violent Faith
by Jon Krakauer, Macmillian, London 2003


"Any President of the United States who lifts his finger against this people shall die an untimely death and go to hell.'
Brigham Young, President, Prophet, Seer and Revelator, Second Leader of the Mormon Church, 1851.


Pivoting around the true story of the murder of Brenda Lafferty and her 15 month old daughter Erica, - 'God told us to do it' - by the two older brothers of her husband, Allen Lafferty, author Jon Krakauer takes us into the musty world of Fundamentalist Mormons, estimated at 100,000 strong, who believe that the Mormon Church, or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), as it is officially called, went off the rails when it abandoned Celestial Marriage, or polygamy. Although polygamy is outlawed in the US and disavowed now by the Mormon Church proper, it still flourishes, all over America and Canada, where wives as young as 12 years old are taken by men as old as 65 and older. Call it what every you want - to me it's rape and child abuse, pure and simple. The Mormon Fundamentalists, however, believe it is a right sanctioned by God, through his prophet, Joseph Smith.

LDS is the fastest growing faith in the Western hemisphere with over 11 million members. But since its inception, like all religions, once the main Founder died, it has since splintered off into dozens of sub-groups. (Note: The Sufis believed that once the Leader of a Spiritual Circle had gone, the Circle should be disbanded - that only a shell would remain. Probably a damn good idea.)

Most people are aware that the state of Utah is known as the home of the Mormons; the world famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir is based in Salt Lake City, for instance. Utah is where the followers of the prophet Joseph Smith, who started the religion in 1830, eventually ended up, under the stewardship of the prophet Brigham Young, who succeeded Smith.

What may not be common knowledge, however, is that Utah was not a State at the time, but existed outside the boundaries of the United States. After Joseph Smith was murdered in Illinois, where the church was ferociously persecuted by other Christians, a deal was struck with the Governor that in exchange for a cessation of hostilites against the church, it would leave Illinois and relocate outside of the USA. At that time, in 1847, Utah was only a territory on the outskirts of the USA. After the fleeing emigrants were well and truly settled into Utah, (named after the Ute Indians, but always referred to secretly as Deseret, meaning 'Honeybee,' by the Mormons), in 1850, it was annexed as a State by the US government, putting a big chink into the practice of polygamy there, as it was illegal in the rest of the USA. Brigham Young was appointed the first Governor of this new State of Utah and reforms to the church had to be made - but the fanatics and fundamentalists never abandoned the 'Sacred Duty' of polygamy. (One popular way of concealing it, for instance, was by taking one legal wife and having other wives, sometimes up to 65 others, even though they weren't offically sanctioned by law. The added benefit of this approach was that the extra wives could claim sole supporting mother pensions from the government, which was the common practice. Needless to say, this brought a lot of government cash into the communal kitty.)

I made the personal acquaintance of some people from the Melbourne branch of the LDS some years ago and invited them in for a couple of chats, as I was curious about this strange religion, not really understanding it. Of course, I had heard about it from growing up in the States. I made a few trips down to their centre, watched a few videos, and was given a beautiful gold covered copy of the Mormon Bible. (The Mormon Bible includes the Old Testament, the New Testament, like a regular Bible - but with the addition of a third book jerry-rigged on the end, The Book of Mormon, which is the account that Joseph Smith was given by the Angel, Moroni, on a hill in New York.

I'll summarise briefly for you the story of The Book of Mormon:

Six hundred years before Jesus was born, there was an ancient Hebrew tribe headed by a man named Lehi. They were instructed (by God, of course: 'God told me to do it') to abandon Jerusalem, and they journeyed to North America by boat. Lehi had two sons named Nephi and Laman, who had a falling out over who was entitled to inherit leadership after his death. The tribe split into two: the Lamanites and the Nephites. The Lamanites, being the 'bad' ones, were punished by God and given dark skin (becoming the forefathers of the Native American Indians - known in Mormon theology as the 'Red Sons of Israel.').

Shortly after the resurrection of Christ, on his way to Heaven, Jesus decided to make a spiritual stop-over in North America and persuaded the two clans to stop fighting, but around 400 AD, a ferocious battle ensued and the Lamanites slaughtered the entire 230,000 Nephites. The leader of the Nephites, in the final doomed battle, was a man named Mormon who had a son named Moroni (unfortunate name, eh?) who, before he died, buried an account of the history of the tribe on a series of Golden Plates.

It was this very Moroni himself who appeared 14 centuries later, as an angel, before Joseph Smith to lead him to the long buried Golden Plates in that hill in New York, so that this very important story would not be forgotten; thereby effecting the Salvation of Mankind. (Naturally - what else could be more logical, I ask you?)
The plates, cleverly, were encrypted in an Egyptian kind of cuneiform writing which only could be deciphered by the use of a pair of spectacles called the Urim and the Thummim (why do I keep thinking of these things as the Uma and the Thurman? Ask Quentin Tarantino. I can still see her whooping that Samurai sword around.) Luckily for Joseph Smith, the Spectacles were buried with the Plates. (i.e. batteries included.)
- Hey, here's a thought - imagine if Ned Kelly had found those plates? He would have made some kick-butt golden armour out of them. Sidney Nolan could have used some gold leaf on all those great paintings. The mind boggles . . . . . . . . . . . but I digress -

Anyway, one thing led to another and . . . yadda yadda yadda . . somehow we end up with 65 year old men raping and abusing their 12 year old children-wives because . . .wait for it . . . 'God told me to do it'. (Sounds a lot like some of those Catholic priests we've been hearing about lately, don't it?)

There's much in this book of interest and education, however, and it helped me to understand the tragedy of the American religious mindset. It reads like a thriller. Start it and you won't be able to put it down.

I'll finish with a short excerpt, from an interview with a young Mormon Fundamentalist wife:

" In marked contrast, the spirit burns for Pamela with a white-hot flame. The energy she draws from it is palpable; one can almost feel the heat emanating from her skin.
"I tell you," Pamela says, pressing her hands to her chest, beaming, "when you feel that spirit - the real spirit - there's nothing like it. You're full of fire inside."
And that fire is being spread very effectively to the next generation of fundamentalists. Pamela's daughter, Emmylou, who is on the cusp of adolescence, lays out the plans for a house she has designed across the dining room table.
"I did it on the Internet, according to the Principle," she declares shyly, and then points out the home's numerous special features. "The exterior is going to be rammed earth or maybe adobe," she explains. "It's eighty-five feet long by seventy-seven feet wide, all on one floor. This centre part here will be open, like a courtyard. Over on this side is where the children's rooms are - one for the girls, one for the boys. Plus, there is a nursery for the young ones. The father's room, the master bedroom, is over here. And these are the mother's rooms, one wife here and the other wife there. And the neat thing is, there's space to add another room here for a third wife."

Neat. I'll say. That's a lot of eager hands to pick up one old man's socks and underpants.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: LDS

I was inspired, and angered, by this book to write a little country song, based on a phrase I've been bandying around lately. Here's the first verse and chorus:

Did You Get Stupid from Being Ugly? (Or Ugly from Being Stupid?) Full Lyrics

" Speaking of religious twits, according to researchers at the Barna Research Group, Americans don't know what they believe! According to the results of a survey released this week, 76% of Americans believe in Heaven, and 71% believe in Hell. What's more, while over ninety percent of those who believe in Heaven think they're going there after they die, only one-half of one percent think believe their immortal souls to be Hellbound . . . a pretty unlikely figure when you consider the state of the world. But other than our extreme hubris, the survey revealed another fact about the state of American faith: it's riddled with self-contradictions! According to pollster George Barna: "It's hyper individualism. They're cutting and pasting religious views from a variety of different sources - television, movies, conversations with their friends."
For instance, it was found that one out of 10 born-again Christians believes in reincarnation! And nearly one in three claims it is possible to communicate with the dead! On the other side of the coin, nearly half the self-described atheists and agnostics believe that heaven and hell exist, and that there is life after death! The folks at Barna Research see these findings as a positive. "Postmodernism is actually a move toward spirituality, not away from it. So, at the same time we are mired in the muck of life, we also hold evermore preciously to spiritual sustenance."
(thanks to Jerky)
Joke Omega

A few days before his proctological exam, a one-eyed man accidentally swallowed his glass eye. He was worried for a while, but there were no ill effects, so he forgot about it.
Once he was in the doctor's office, the man followed his instructions, undressed and bent over. The first thing the proctologist saw when he looked up the man's butt was that glass eye staring right back at him!
"You know," said the doctor, "you really have to learn to trust me."



Long-time newsletter-getters might recall the very first recipe I published - a Veal Marsala dish that was so simple, anyone could make it perfect first time. (See the first recipe in the Recipe Index.)

Well, here's a variation of that idea, but this time with some of the ideas I have picked up from the cuisine of Teage Ezard, the genius at Ezard@Adelphi Restaurant in Melbourne:

Three Parts:

Sweet Jerusalem Artichoke Chips
1 Jerusalem Artichoke
oil for deep drying
powdered sugar
(The sweetness of these chips brings out the sweetness in the marsala sherry.)

Peel the Jerusalem artichoke and slice into paper-thin slices. Heat the oil until smoking and deep fry the artichoke slices until golden. Remove to absorbent paper. Set aside. (Right before assembling, add the powdered sugar to the chips and stir lightly.)

Thin pounded veal slices, cut in small pieces
flour, for dredging
Marsala wine
olive oil
fresh parsley, chopped
fresh coriander, bunch of whole sprigs
1/2 red chili
1 teaspoon sugar
salt & pepper
1 lime

Cut the fresh coriander at the point where the stem meets the leaves and dice stem sections finely. Set the remainder of the sprig (with the leaves) aside for the garnish.
Dredge veal slices in flour. Shake off excess.
Heat the olive oil until smoking.
Brown veal on both sides, until cooked through.
Remove veal from pan. Add chili and coriander stems. Scrap bits from the pan and mix together. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and the chopped parsley and stir for about a minute. (Don't burn the butter.)
Add as much Marsala as you want to the pan (between half cup to a cup or more), some salt and pepper and the teaspoon of sugar. Stir well and return the veal to the pan and simmer until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened. Make sure you have enough sauce for a liberal serving. (Add more marsala if necessary and further reduce). Check seasoning.

(I learned a variation of this dish, from my partner, Lin, from the days when she lived in Belgium and used to cook, in exchange for room and board, for an old Flemish farmer and his two sons.)

ten small potatoes
1 1/2 clove garlic, chopped finely
fresh peas
fresh mint, some finely chopped, and keep two whole pieces for the garnish.
1/2 teas garlic, chopped finely
Freshly ground pepper

Peel the potatoes and boil until cooked. Drain the water, add some butter and some pepper to the whole potatoes in the pan, and the garlic, and place the lid on the pan. Give the pan a good shake so that some of the potatoes come apart slightly.

Cook the peas until ready. Drain. Place the butter, some chopped mint, and half clove of chopped garlic in the pan. Stir well.

TO ASSEMBLE: Spoon a bed of peas on the plate to one side. Place some of the whole potatoes on the peas. Garnish with the mint leaf. On the other side of the plate, place the veal and cover with the sauce liberally. Place a mound of the sugared Jerusalem artichoke chips on top of the veal and a bunch of fresh coriander sprigs next to it. Add a wedge of fresh lime. Serve immediately.


Spaghettini Con Tartufo Nero Aphrodisiac del Narcissus

aphrodisiac (n.) - 1719, from Gk. aphrodisiakos "inducing sexual desire," from aphrodisios, "pertaining to Aphrodite" (q.v.), Gk. goddess of love and beauty.

Forget the traditional sex potions such as frog saliva, mandrakes, powdered rhinoceros' horns, or the liquorice teas used in the days of old. Already in Roman times the aphrodisiac properties of truffles were well known. In his famous treatise on cooking, "De re Coquinaria", Apicius exalts the wondrous effects of the black truffle, and indicates six different ways of using it. With the fall of the empire its magic properties were forgotten and it was only in the 1700 century that the French started to vaunt the miraculous qualities of truffles again. The famous gastronome, Brillat Savarin (1755-1826), dedicates six whole pages of his "Physiologie du Goût" to its erotic properties. Truffles come in two main families, white and black. The black ones are found in many places, with the really famous ones from Perigord, in France, and from Norcia, in Italy. The rarer and more expensive white one is found mainly in Piedmont, Italy, and the best known and prized finds are from the hills around town of Alba. The fundamental difference however is not in the colour but in the scent. The black truffle has a pleasant autumnal leafy smell and is usually used cooked. The white one instead has a strong pungent nose with a thousand shades and is used raw, grated very finely on cooked or raw foods. Since it is so costly, one has to choose well. It must be pale beige, the paler the better. It must be very firm. (Note: Obviously . . . for the erotic properties.) Harvest season for the highly-regarded black truffle, the Melanosporum Vitt, is from the middle of November until mid-March. For the summer truffle, the Tuber Aestivum Vitt, the season begins on the first of May and ends the 30th of November.

100 grams thin spaghettini pasta
1 medium black truffle
1 clove of garlic, peeled
parmesan cheese
black pepper

Peel the truffle. Put the pasta in boiling water. Cut the garlic in half and rub the cut edge over the surface of a large frying pan in order to just impart the scent of the garlic across the pan. (Subtlety is the name of this game.) Over medium heat, melt the butter. Use a potato peeler or a very fine slicer to cut thin slivers of 3/4 of the truffle into the melting butter. You don't want to cook the truffle, just heat it up, so keep and eye on it, and remove from the heat if necessary. When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it quickly and turn it into the frying pan. Remove from the heat and toss it to mix thoroughly. Slice the remainder of the raw truffle over the top, add some black pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve. This particular dish is best enjoyed alone.

"Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind.

Did you think you were put here for something less?"

Chief Arvol Looking Horse