November 15th, 2003

View From a Handbasket


"To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he's doing is good... Ideology - that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others' eyes, so that he won't hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors. "
Alexander Solzhenitsyn


Hi folks,

You might recall a couple of weeks ago I suggested that the fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, possibly had predatory elements in it and most likely was politically incorrect for small children in today's touchy-feely, Father-Flanigan-the-Pervert social climate.

WaylandN sent in this comment:

"Where The Wild Things Are" author/illustrator Maurice Sendak was once approached by an irate woman at a book-signing, who said: "How DARE you negatively influence my child by showing the dark, untamed side of childhood, in the person of your rebellious little boy protagonist Max?! Your book should be removed from all library shelves, and burned, besides!"

Sendak replied: "Madam, how would you like me to tell your children instead the story of a couple who were so poor that they abandoned their children to starvation in the forest? (You know that the worst fear of children is of abandonment by their parents, don't you?) Whereupon a female cannibal happened upon them, enticed them back to her house with the promise of food (for which they were ravenous), secretly harbouring the idea of cooking and eating them? But the children, waiting for just the right moment, caught the lady off-guard - whereupon they pushed her into the oven, shut the door, and cooked her alive. . . meanwhile dancing around and singing with glee?"

It also jogged my memory. I have ALREADY written something about Hansel and Gretel, published in XY Magazine some years ago, during the Iron John mania, when I suggested that if poet Robert Bly could give Wild Man workshops, based on such a flimsy fairy story such as, Iron John, then I could probably really tear up the circuit with my own Iron Hansel Workshops. Here's the article

Music Notes

Jerry Springer - The Opera

Tap-dancing Ku Klux Klansmen, wildly foul language and extravagant parade of lowlifes, addicts and miscreants - Yes folks, all your friends and relatives are there. (story)

Rosalie Sorrels Records 'My Home Ain't in the Hall of Fame' . . . again!

Rosalie Sorrels was one of the first people to record my song, back in the mid-70s and she's done it again - on her soon-to-be-released new album. ( I'd like to think she's 're-claiming' it back from 'The George W Bush and Daughters Song Appropriation Fan Club' and their running dog, Robert Earl Keen Jr. (Just joking about Robert Earl, though, 'cause I like really his version. But I ain't joking about George.) Here's Rosalie's website if you want to keep posted.


Rare Limited Edition 4 track EP CD:
'Shaddap You Face - NRR Version (No Room for Racism)'

(This is the only recording available of these songs and only 300 signed copies remain. Tracks:)

1. Shaddap You Face -(NRR Version)
This is the version of my song I recorded in 1998, assisted by Vietnamese comic, Hung Le, with new lyrics, released as a protest against Pauline Hansen's, One Nation party.
' . . . this new version is about showing solidarity against Pauline Hanson . . .Ideological enemies won' t be queuing for a copy. "What a lot of crap," sputters Rod Spencer, Victoria's One Nation convenor, "If he thinks this is a serious contribution, he's got rocks in his head."' Who Magazine

2. Pizza Pizza
This track is currently the theme song for the US Pizza Team and has been recently featured in the World Pizza Championships in Italy, and also on US primetime television, ESPN2, five times.

3. Vaffanculo Polka
Based on the swear word of the same name that I heard used, all through my childhood, by my Sicilian and Calabrian grandparents. (No two Italians agree on the spelling of this word.) This song was written for the soundtrack of a Australian feature film I did the music for called Blowing Hot and Cold.
(For film buffs: I also had one of the two lead acting roles (along side Peter Adams) - see if you can find this rare archival celluloid masterpiece, some say: my Swan Song. (others: my Duckling Song.)

4. 12 Days of Xmas (Italian Style)
My favourite track from the now defunct (and deservedly so) Christmas Album. But this gem is an amazing piece of comical string quartet writing, from Canadian composer, Chris Dedrick, as I run through a Christmas litany of Italian food and never-ending arrival of relatives.

To order YOUR copy, for friends (or enemies) or to send to George W Bush.

Soros's Deep Pockets vs. Bush
Financier Contributes $5 Million More in Effort to Oust President

By Laura Blumenfeld
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

NEW YORK -- George Soros, one of the world's richest men, has given away nearly $5 billion to promote democracy in the former Soviet bloc, Africa and Asia. Now he has a new project: defeating President Bush.

"It is the central focus of my life," Soros said, his blue eyes settled on an unseen target. The 2004 presidential race, he said in an interview, is "a matter of life and death."

Soros, who has financed efforts to promote open societies in more than 50 countries around the world, is bringing the fight home, he said. On Monday, he and a partner committed up to $5 million to, a liberal activist group, bringing to $15.5 million the total of his personal contributions to oust Bush.

Overnight, Soros, 74, has become the major financial player of the left. He has elicited cries of foul play from the right. And with a tight nod, he pledged: "If necessary, I would give more money."

"America, under Bush, is a danger to the world," Soros said. Then he smiled: "And I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is."
(thanks to Maireid Sullivan)

And this comment just came in . . . . .

" . . . Meanwhile, hands up who can spot the irony in George Soros using his capitalist billions to try and unseat Bush? I find it rather amusing. Of course Soros has always had a far more thoughtful social agenda than the US neo conservative cabal, but I still think it's funny that a mega rich American open market financial wheeler dealer, the exact profile Bush and co would normally be representing, is now going to be their most troublesome enemy. All that lovely free market money that came largely from the freeing up of global currency markets and globalisation in general, being channeled back to bite Bush on the bum.

I'm going to place my bet on the Democrats now while the odds are still very long. . ."
Guy West

Speaking of Millionaires and Billionaires . . .

Is a Millionaire, in Australia, someone with a million Australian dollars or a million US dollars?

Is a Millionaire in the UK, someone with a million British pounds?

What about a Millionaire in Romania?


1 million British pounds equals $US 1.6 million and $A 2.3 million.

$US 1 million equals .6 M British pounds, or .85 M Euros, but 5.8 Billion ROL (Romanian Leu.)

$A 1 million = $US .7 M and .4 M British pounds and .6 M Euros

$A 1.00 = ROL 23,617 (Romanian Leu)

i.e. To be a millionaire in Romania, you need to have the equivilant of $A 43.00.

circa 2003
By David Podvin

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it The business of the Journalist is to destroy truth; To lie outright; To pervert; To vilify; To fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals for rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and or lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes. "
John Swinton, former Chief of Staff, The New York Times, circa 1880

The sweet illusion that a free press exists in America has once again brutally collided with the bitter reality that journalistic freedom is severely limited by financial considerations. Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone has ordered his CBS broadcasting subsidiary to cancel its scheduled airing of the docudrama "The Reagans" because the show's impartial tone had generated objections from the Republican Party. Viacom is dependent upon the GOP for the broadcasting deregulations and tax cuts that sustain the corporation, so it acceded to the demand that the offending program must never appear on CBS. (story)


What Are They Smoking in Canada, Continued . . .?

" Look, as a journalist, I don't like saying, 'I hate Republicans.' In fact, I don't mind if people are Republicans in the privacy of their own bedrooms. It's just the ones that flaunt it in public, the raging, flaming ones, that give me the creeps." Greg Palast

Fairy Tales

TORONTO (AP) - First came `The Dating Game,'' then `Blind Date,'' among many others. Now Canada has its own entry in the matchmaking genre - `Fairy Tale.''

The program, which premiered Sunday across Canada on the Pride Vision cable channel, features gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender participants seeking romance as the cameras roll. Each show focuses on one date, captured on video and dissected for viewers.

In a nation where same-sex marriage is legal in two provinces and proposed in pending federal legislation, `Fairy Tale'' adds to the programming for what advertisers believe is a lucrative, growing market. Jason Hughes, Pride Vision's director of sales and marketing, estimates about two-thirds of Canada's gay population earn more than $45,000 a year.

`When our government said same-sex marriage is cool, our population became a bit more accepting of a gay dating show,'' creator Myles Shane said recently on the set of `Fairy Tale.'' (story)

(Canada is sounding better and better with every article.)


Sister Mary Kathleen entered the Monastery of Silence.
The Priest said, "Sister, this is a silent monastery. You are welcome here
as long as you like, but you may not speak until I direct you to do so."

Sister Mary Kathleen lived in the monastery for 5 years before the Priest
said to her, "Sister Mary Kathleen, you have been here for 5 years.
You can speak two words."

Sister Mary Kathleen said, "Hard bed."

"I'm sorry to hear that," the Priest said, "We will get you a better bed."

After another 5 years, Sister Mary Kathleen was called by the Priest.
"You may say another two words, Sister Mary Kathleen."

"Cold food," said Sister Mary Kathleen, and the Priest assured her
that the food would be better in the future.

On her 15th anniversary at the monastery, the Priest again called Sister
Mary Kathleen into his office. "You may say two words today."

"I quit," said Sister Mary Kathleen.

"It's probably best," said the Priest, "You've done nothing but bitch since
you got here.
(thanks to Maireid Sullivan)


Doris "Granny D" Haddock, 93, is the chairwoman of the "Our Town Votes" project. She's an activist involved with helping people register to vote.

Granny D got me so inspired that I've already ordered my ballot for next year's US Presidental Election.

Any US citizens residing in Australia, or Overseas, who want to vote in 2004, simply ring your US Consulate and they will send you a ballot. (You can find the contact details on the internet but if you have any problems, just drop me an email .)

Here's Granny's website:
(thanks to JDStover)


The special thing I discovered in making this dessert - inspired by Ezard, once again - is that you can spell out a person's name in a carmalised sugar swirl which adds a personal touch to simple sweets for birthday party's and other celebrations.

Honeycrunch, Coffee and Chocolate Ice Cream Balls with Cinnamon Oil, Violet Crumble and Carmelised Red Chili and Sugar Swirls

Quick Version

Honey crunch ice cream.
Chocolate ice cream.
Coffee ice cream.
Violet crumble.

Cinnamon Oil
2 sticks of cinnamon
Olive oil (not Extra Virgin - something light)
1 teaspoon of icing sugar.

Make cinnamon oil the day before. Preheat the oven to the hottest setting. Dry roast the cinnamon for about 5 minutes, watching that it doesn't burn. Grind medium-fine in a mortar and pestle and place in a small jar with 1/4 of olive oil. Let stand overnight so that the cinammon infuses into the oil. Next morning, stir in the icing sugar, check for taste and cover until ready to use. Strain right before using.

Sugar Swirls (Personalised)
Castor sugar

Place about a half cup of castor sugar and about a third cup of water in a small saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer the syrup until it starts to go golden brownish around the edges. Remove from the heat and wait a couple of minutes. Carefully drip the syrup in a long medium sized stream onto a non-stick surface (aluminium foil, the shiny side) spelling out the name of whomever you want. Work quickly. Once the name is clear, vary the stream so that it is thinner and make a circle around the name and criss-cross back and forth with wispy thin streams of syrup connecting the name to the circle. You'll have to practice this to get it right but it's really not that hard and you can eat your mistakes.

Candied Chillis
1 red chilli
some castor sugar
red food colour

Cut a sliver of red bird's-eye chili lengthwise, from top to bottom, using about a quarter of the chili, keeping the stem intact. Delicately scrap all the seeds away. Place about a quarter cup of castor sugar and about a quarter cup of water in a small saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves. Add a few drops of red food colouring. Simmer the syrup until it starts to go golden brownish around the edges. Remove from the heat and wait a couple of minutes. Hold the chili by the stem and dip into the red carmalized sugar syrup until well-coated and then place on a non-stick surface to dry. (aluminium foil, the shiny side.)

To assemble: Swirl cinnamon oil on plate. Using a small ice cream scoop, place three scoops of ice cream in center. Garnish with caramelised swirl and chilli, and pieces of violet crumble on side.


"Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?"
bumper sticker